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Town to open new park facilities

The Town of Pineville spent $4.4 million renovating Jack D. Hughes Memorial Park in 2010 with the hope of bringing local and out-of-state baseball and softball tournaments to the area.

The 70-acre park opened in the 1960s with one baseball field and one softball field. The renovations, which had two phases of development, were completed in December 2010. The project renovated two existing fields and added a baseball field, a multipurpose field, walking trail, restrooms, a concession stand, three picnic shelters and a playground. The new baseball field has a 250-seat grandstand.

Jennifer Honaker, the athletic coordinator for Parks and Recreation, said one of the project's goals is to bring economic incentives to Pineville.

"Since the park is now tournament quality, we want to bring both local and out-of-state (baseball and softball) teams to play here," said Honaker. "The out-of-town revenue would bring money into the town and the local teams would keep money in the town."

Honaker said the baseball and softball fields already are booked for 2011 tournaments. The first game to be played on the newly completed fields will be a Charlotte Catholic baseball game Feb. 22.

"Teams will come to Pineville and stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop at our mall," she said.

The total cost of the renovation was $4.4 million.

Funding for the project came from an occupancy tax from area hotels, a car rental tax and a prepared food tax from local restaurants.

Honaker said both youth and adult teams will use the fields for tournaments and games, but the majority of playing time will be for the youth teams. Charlotte Catholic boys' and girls' baseball and softball teams will use the park as their home field, as will adult teams like the American Legion baseball team and the Charlotte Adult Baseball League.

Honaker said she remembered her dad taking her to the local park when she was a girl, which influenced her to become an athlete.

"We want people of all ages to enjoy the park," said Honaker. "Parents can bring their kids to picnic or go to the playground and they can witness a high level of (athletic) performance. Hopefully it will shape the kids to be strong athletes themselves."

In addition to regular games, the park will also host special events.

The Carolina Hurricanes, part of the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate Wooden Bat League, will hold their All-Star game at the park July 16. The day will feature events like a 60-yard dash and professional workouts by the baseball players, followed by the game.

Practice time for the fields has been booked through July for the spring season, but reservations for the fall will begin in June. To make a reservation, teams can contact Pineville Parks and Recreation.

"Coming to see a local game is a way to have fun with your family and it's free," said Honaker. "It will be a good way for the community to see some really great sports."

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