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From the 1989 movie, “Field of Dreams,” comes the memorable quote, “If you build it, he will come.” It’s been used many times since to capture community aspirations for quality-of-life improvement projects.
We think of “Field of Dreams” when we drive past the New Albany Sportsplex. We built it and they have come. By any measure, the project has been a success.
And last week the New Albany Board of Aldermen voted 3-to-2 to hire Sherman-based engineering firm Mendrop-Wages to help the city begin the process of expanding the Sportsplex.
The motion was made by Alderman Jeff Olson, who said he thinks the city should move ahead with engineering work on the expansion to the city-owned 40-acre lot on the opposite side of U.S. 78 from the current complex.
Olson said current discussions involve plans for five soccer fields, 12 tennis courts, walking trails and a small lake. A proposal for an amphitheater in the plan has been put aside for now, he said.
Some of the project’s impetus comes from the New Albany Tennis Association and the New Albany Soccer Association. The two groups have noted correctly that New Albany’s facilities have not kept pace with those in Pontotoc and Tupelo.
Olson said he expects the project would be financed by a combination of grants, community sponsorships and naming opportunities, tourism tax money as well as general tax money.
We agree it is time to move ahead with the current project, but we also would like to see the city “dream” bigger.
We think a long-range plan for the Sportsplex should be developed now to include a year-round swimming pool on the large grass plot adjacent to the spray park. The pool, with sliding partitions to make it open-air in the summer on the side facing the spray park, would be a draw for the whole region.
We believe in dreaming and dreaming large. We think if we build it, they will come.