Camp Jordan Park in East Ridge has added grass infields to three more fields.
As part of the East Ridge Parks and Recreation Department’s plan to have four full-size baseball fields with grass infields, 90-foot base paths, 60-foot pitching distances and permanent mounds, Mid-Tenn Turf, with operations in Manchester and Benton, Tn. laid the sod on fields 9, 11 and 12 at Camp Jordan on Wednesday and Thursday.
Director of East Ridge Parks and Recreation Stump Martin said the project will set Camp Jordan apart from other baseball facilities.
“This is exciting,” Mr. Martin said. “How many full-size baseball complexes do you know of that have four full-size fields with grass and 300-foot plus fences? This will allow East Ridge to host league play, tournaments, clinics, showcases and a spring training home for high schools and college teams coming down from up north. Many baseball players from 13-years-old and up will now have a place to play in the Chattanooga area.”
Mr. Martin said the complex will also allow college coaches to have a place to come and see many players perform on four fields without having to travel around to various locations.
“We had grass infield sod laid on Field 10 last October and this completes the turfing on the four infields in the quad,” Mr. Martin said. “Parks Supervisor Wayne Thompson and his crew have been working to get Field 10 ready to play as soon as possible. It’s up to the weather now because we will need 10-14 days of temperatures in the 70s to allow the sod to take root.”
A water main is now being scheduled to be installed at the park to allow the fields to be watered.
Bobby Small is with Southern Baseball and serves as the director over Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia for Nations Baseball.
Mr. Small’s response to the turf now being in place was, “That’s sweet.”
“This is the first place in the Chattanooga area to have four full-size baseball fields with grass infields at one complex,” Mr. Small said. “Finally, we now have a place to play (big boy) baseball without having to spread out to high schools. That’s just great.”
USSSA assistant state director Russell Payne, said the four full-size fields with grass infields in one complex wasn’t just big, “That’s really big.”
“This helps USSSA tremendously, especially next year when we plan on having the (100 team plus) Super NIT in Chattanooga,” Mr. Payne added. “That’s huge right there.”
USSSA has a state tournament scheduled for May 30 at Camp Jordan Park.
Mr. Martin said special thanks goes to the East Ridge City Council and City Manager Andrew Hyatt for helping to move forward with this project.
“The council has really helped to improve all of the parks and recreation facilities in East Ridge,” Mr. Martin said. “Wayne (Thompson) and his grounds crew are already watering and manicuring the upgraded fields. We will have them ready when Mother Nature shouts for us to, ‘Play Ball’.”
Mr. Martin said besides the tournaments already scheduled for Camp Jordan in 2014, an adult wooden-bat league has contacted him about holding its year ending playoffs at Camp Jordan.
The Baseball Players Association (BPA), USSSA Baseball, Nations Baseball and Open Baseball already have tournaments scheduled for the upgraded fields in 2014.