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CITY OF PICAYUNE BREAKS GROUND AT FRIENDSHIP PARK FOR TURF PROJECT
On September 5, 2023, a major milestone was achieved when the artificial turf project kicked off at Friendship Park in Picayune. State and city officials, employees, and other interested parties came together to celebrate the groundbreaking. Mayor Jim Luke expressed his optimism about the project and its potential to draw in numerous visitors who would participate in the tournaments that will be hosted at the park. He also emphasized the economic advantages that the project will bring to the region, with visitors staying at local hotels and dining at restaurants. "This council, working together as a team, is really making strides in moving Picayune forward," he said confidently. "We're committed to keeping our promises to our residents and achieving our goals. We are fortunate to have the support of Senator Angela Hill, Representative Stacey Wilkes, Representative Jansen Owen, and Representative Timmy Ladner. Without their help, we could not have received the funding for this project.”
With the aid of local legislators, the City of Picayune was awarded grant money to help pay for the synthetic baseball field turf through the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund (GCRF). The GCRF, which is appropriated by the state legislature, was established in September 2018, with funds received by the State from the BP Oil Spill Settlement. The funds are only available to Mississippi Gulf Coast Region organizations and businesses that aim to bring more economic activities to their area.
Senator Hill stated that in this digital age, anything that can get kids outside and bring families together creates a strong cohesive sense of community. She expressed her pride in being part of the project, which will bring tax money back to the state. State Representative Wilkes added that the funds are a great opportunity for the people of Picayune, and the project will bring more money to local hotels and restaurants through baseball and softball tournaments. The sentiment was echoed by Trevor Adam, Director of Parks & Rec, who acknowledged that the project required a team effort and expressed his excitement about the long-term impact it will have on Picayune. Trevor went on to say, “It's going to significantly reduce maintenance time and costs, which is a huge benefit for our city. Synthetic turf fields are highly sought-after for tournament use because games can resume more quickly after a rain event."
City Manager Harvey Miller stated, “The new artificial grass that will be installed in the infields is going to be a game-changer for us." He closed with, "Let the games begin!" The city hopes to complete the project within the next 120 days.