Park innovations New baseball complex uses energy-saving lights

Tupelo’s greatly anticipated new baseball complex will be ready for action in April, and it’s going “green” with energy- and money-saving lights that could reduce the predictable electricity bills for regular lighting by $6,200 per year.

That may not sound like a huge savings, but it’s the rough equivalent of a major maintenance equipment purchase, a part-time staff position, or it might be an outright expenditure reduction.

The nine new fields will greatly enhance Tupelo’s recreational/competitive sports capacity: eight softball fields, 15 soccer fields, and 10 baseball/T-ball fields, plus tennis courts and swimming pools. In addition, a new “splash” pool is planned in Veterans Park, a popular adaptation of water recreation for all ages.

If the new, energy-stingy lighting system creates the expected savings, the city will consider replacing hundreds of regular fixtures at other sites to cut long-term expenses.

The nearly $5 million in improvements and expansions at Ballard Park continue a half-century-long tradition in Tupelo of public recreational excellence. Long before organized youth and adult recreation became a major tourism attraction, the Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department built and maintained top-rated facilities used by countless thousands of players, coaches and fans through the decades.

The advent of soccer as a popular youth sport required another layer of investment – accomplished in a productive partnership with the private sector, as is the case with part of the new Ballard Park complex.

Organized recreational sports help keep communities healthier, and with safe parks showcasing the fields, trails, courts and pools, many people of all ages are encouraged to participate.

It is not unusual to find users from 8 to 80 in the various parks at the same time, all pursuing fitness and recreational fun.

The lighting innovations are a sign of the times, and they also continue a standard of innovation and adequacy in Parks and Recreation.