Lafayette to help fund practice facility

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Lafayette County supervisors agreed to a joint effort with the city of Oxford and one or more donors to build a $300,000 indoor practice facility at FNC Park.
The sports complex, whose construction was funded by both the city and county, contains five soccer fields, eight baseball fields and three softball fields. It is slated to have two more practice baseball fields to replace some being displaced by the expansion of the John Leslie Tennis Complex.
Oxford Park Commission Executive Director Rob Boyd said a donor who preferred anonymity came forward during discussion of the new construction.
“In the discussion with our donor, they wanted to put up the $150,000 if the city would put in $75,000 and the county would put in $75,000 for the indoor practice facility,” he said.
FNC Park Planning and Marketing Director Brad Freeman envisioned the building as “a big, indoor turf room,” he said. “We envision four or five retractable batting cages so you can get four or five teams in there to get some practice.”
It would provide the complex’s first shelter for competitors and spectators.
The only serious objection to the proposal came from District 3 Supervisor Robert Blackmon, who said tournaments and leagues have made FNC Park inaccessible to Lafayette School District teams for practice.
District 4 Supervisor Chad McLarty said, “I think it’s a no-brainer to pay $75,000 and get a $300,000 facility.”
Oxford aldermen are expected to vote on June 5.