Vardaman Sportsplex Earns MML Award

Vardaman Mayor James Casey described the James B. Parker Youth Sportsplex as a “dream come true.” The Mississippi Municipal League will honor Vardaman for making the
dream a reality by presenting it the “City Spirit” award at the
organization’s annual convention this week in Biloxi.


By JOEL McNEECE
Vardaman Mayor James Casey described the James B. Parker Youth Sportsplex as a “dream come true.”
The Mississippi Municipal League will honor Vardaman for making the dream a reality by presenting it the “City Spirit” award at the organization’s annual convention this week in Biloxi.
The awards program, which began in 1993, recognizes cities that utilize innovative problem solving, excellence in management, citizen participation and community partnerships to provide in-creased services and a better quality of life for its local citizenry. Vardaman was one of seven cities across the state honored.
“We’re very appreciative and honored that MML would recognize us for our efforts here in Vardaman,” Mayor Casey said.
The four-field sportsplex has been decades in the making.
“This is something we’ve needed for at least 40 years,” Mayor Casey said. “Over the years our kids have played in parking lots at the school and other places where they didn’t have restroom facilities, and the concession stand was half a city block away.”
James B. Parker, for whom the complex is named, donated all of the land to the town to help get the project started.
“I wanted the kids to have a place to play,” Parker said.
From there, it became a team effort.
“This project wouldn’t have been possible without the people in the community that volunteered their time and efforts,” Mayor Casey said. “So many people have contributed time, money, labor, or equipment to make this project possible.”
“I think it has helped to bring the community together even more,” Mayor Casey continued. “We have almost twice the amount of youth participating in our programs now than before.”
“This place is special to us,” said Brad Spencer, Summer League President. “It’s a dream come true. I say thank you to everyone who helped get this started.”
The Sportsplex was initially flood lands, but numerous farmers and other volunteers worked in conjunction with the town to build the site up.
“We were glad to do whatever we could,” said Chris Lucius, one of the farmers who assisted in the dirt work. “I believe it’s where the community comes from – the kids. We want to do all we can for them.”
“A lot of people spent a lot of time out here,” said Bobby High, another local farmer who assisted. “It was definitely a community effort.”
The Sportsplex also provided the Vardaman Lady Rams’ softball team with their first home field. The team has played their home games in Derma since the inception of the program.
“It means a lot to us to have our own place to play,” said Vardaman High School Softball Coach Billy Dill. “We want to especially thank Mayor Casey for getting the project started, and all of the many volunteers who helped along the way.”
Vardaman joins Bruce and Calhoun City as winners of the MML City Spirit award.
Calhoun City previously earn-ed the award for its lead in the celebration welcoming 223rd National Guard troops home from Iraq.
Bruce won for the volunteer effort in constructing Kids’ Korner playground at Bruce Park.

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