The baseball fields at Friendship park have undergone some upgrades as of late, most recently being the custom brickwork added to the backstops of every field.
“The brick really adds to the pack and makes it stand out. It's really nice," Director of Parks and Recreation Trevor Adam said. "It's already made a huge difference and it looks great so we’re excited about how far it's come."
Adam explained that while the brick is pretty it wasn’t just added for cosmetic reasons, but to save the city of Picayune, and its taxpayers money.
“From an economic standpoint it potentially saves the city thousands of dollars,” Adam said. “Typically the fencing that is there on the back stops last about three to four years give or take, then you have to replace them which could cost up to $7,000 and that’s just for the back stop.”
According to Adam renovations like the bricked backstops also make Friendship Park more appealing to traveling teams when hosting tournaments. These tournaments are important to the city, because they bring families to Picayune to play ball, but also to eat and shop, thereby increasing revenue for everyone.
“It’s just huge for us because we actually have one of the largest complexes in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, field wise, but our biggest problem has been that we’re just not very eye catching. Until now we haven’t had the characteristics that help other sport complexes stand out,” Adam said.
Adam went on to explain that the tournaments they have been able to host lately have been increasingly successful though, and that the community is a large part of that success.
“As they’ve gotten in here and played we’re hearing more and more how much people really like coming here,” Adam said. “The community has been a huge help with that too because when people have come to play ball they have eaten in some of the restaurants and gone in some shops and they’ve really enjoyed the small town atmosphere that we have.”
The community has also played a key role in the funding of some of these renovation projects, including the brick work. Although the City of Picayune has funded some of Friendship Park’s renovations, the back stops were paid for completely by sponsors. With the help from PYA President, Darby Mccranie, Adam said they were able to find four local businesses to cover the masonry work. The sponsors, which were McDonald Funeral Home, Riser Medical, Barrett Brayson State Farm, and Battle Diamond Sports, each funded the bricking of a backstop and will have their names prominently displayed on the scoreboards of each field for the next four years.
Along with community support, Adam was quick to thank the city council, city manager, and the mayor for assisting him as much as possible the last three years. Since coming on board in 2016 Adam has overseen many renovations made to Friendship Park including adding sod and red clay to the fields, installing concrete around the concession stands, replacing old fencing on multiple fields, adding an upstairs conference room and concession stand, and renovating all the bathrooms.
“We’re getting a lot done but we know that there are still a lot of issues out here,” Adam said. “We just want to be part of the solution as we continue our work. We want to be as fiscally responsible with peoples dollars while helping this area grow.”
Adam explained that there is still much more work to be done too and says there are multiple other projects in the works; such as an upcoming asphalt project and adding more lighting to the soccer fields for room to expand.
“We’re excited. We have a lot going on right now but it’s all coming together,” Adam said. “Over here we kinda live by the mantra ‘it’s gotta happen one brick at a time.’ and we’re getting it done.”