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|Fields of Reality|
Cith of Vidalia Recreation Director Johnny Lee Hoffpauir has one regret regarding the new Recreation District No. 3 recreation complex.
"I am not able to coach on it," Hoffpauir said Thursday during a tour of the facility.
The coaches and players who do play on the complex next year will understand his disappointment once they take one of the four baseball or five softball fields.
Hoffpauir started back up the Vidalia High baseball program in 1979 and coached up until taking the job as recreation director last summer. As head baseball coach at Vidalia, Hoffpauir posted a 477-207 record, including a state championship in 1996.
The adult baseball and softball fields will be used by Vidalia High School's teams.
Not to mention the soccer complex behind Wal-Mart and the 12 tennis courts on the other side of the Vidalia Municipal Complex.
"There are very few towns our size with anything like this," Hoffpauir said. "This is great for the community. We have people from bigger cities coming here to visit our facility. It is going to have to have time to grow. This is a very competitive business. We have to go out and compete and put a great product out there."
Hoffpauir has also had representative for the Little Leagues and USSSA tour the facility.
"They are all very impressed," he said.
Hoffpauir said the scoreboards will be put up this week.
"It's about 80 percent complete," Hoffpauir said. "We're never going to actually get it completely done. We're always going to be doing something to it, making adjustments and tweaking certain things."he bigger baseball field will be used by Vidalia High School and also by junior colleges in Louisiana and Mississippi who have committed to playing games there.
There are fields for every age group.
"Each field has its own personality," Hoffpauir said. "The big baseballand softball fields are going to be like Fenway Park with a tall fence in left field. Each field will have its own irrigation system.
We will take care of the fields, but the leagues will be responsible for lining off the field before their games," Hoffpauir said. "These fields will be graded to where they will drain better than any field we've ever had."
Each field has portable bleachers and Hoffpauir said the bleachers from the old adult park will be moved to the new facility, as well.
The press box/concession stand will sit in the middle of the facility.
The parking lot is complete, which room for 500 cars and more room for expansion.
Hoffpauir said 12 tennis courts will be ideal for tennis tournaments.
"We're talking with all the tennis associations around and are going to plan as many events as we can," he said.
The outdoor basketball court is completed, but the covered court lacks only a surface painting.
A fishing pond, walking trail, playground, disc golf course, spray park and gazebo will also be added as part of the city park.
Hoffpauir added with the fields being close to the new municipal complex, security will be enhanced. There will also be cameras on each field which he can watch at all times.
Hoffpauir said he is talking with some people considering holding a camp and clinic in December.
The first game scheduled for the new complex is February 9, 2013 when Pearl River Community College in Mississippi will play Bossier City Community College in a doubleheader.
Both teams will practice on the field on February 8 and talks are ongoing about holding a possible clinic before the games.
Hoffpauir's son, Josh Hoffpauir, is the head coach at Pearl River.
"One of the best compliments I've received is when my sons came out here to look at it and told me they sure wish they could have played on these fields," Hoffpauir said.
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