HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Some Sumrall residents are hoping the Lamar County Board of Supervisors will allocate thousands of dollars for a new soccer and tennis complex off Highway 42.
“Right now, they have to go into Hattiesburg to practice or play matches, so this will be a wonderful asset for our community,” said Katie Walker, a Sumrall mother of three.
Walker said there’s a great need for tennis courts in Sumrall. The goal of the Sumrall Tennis Association is to provide that opportunity.
“Our goal is to get six courts," Walker said. "With six courts we can have adult and junior leagues, and we are also in a better position to host high school tennis matches.”
Soccer is the other sport residents and area leaders are hoping will be housed in this location adjacent to the little league fields off Highway 42. County and private funds have already been used for the beginning stages of this project.
Members of the Sumrall Kickstarters, which is the Sumrall High School Booster Club, previously raised more than $25,000 and put in a lot of sweat equity on the field.
“We were planning on playing on this field this year," said Rickey Smith, vice president of the Sumrall Kickstarters. "So we sodded it, so that cost us about $22,000 as far as raising money from our organization. That’s privately funded money. Plus, we put the irrigation system in, which was $5,200.”
This project, which has been in the works for some time, would be for both recreational and high school use. Representing District 41, Mississippi Sen. Joey Fillingane said during the recent special session he was able to secure $500,000 specifically for this project.
“The way the language of the bill was written, we put language that said beat 5," Fillingane said. "So, the supervisors, if they chose to would have discretion to move part of it, or all of it, away from this site. But, the clear intent was for it to be spent right here.”
But, it can't be utilized until completion. Lamar County Supervisor Dale Lucus and Mayor Heath Sumrall said they are behind the complex project.
“Need a little extra help," Lucus said. "We’ve got the equipment to do the job, once we have the money to start the program.”
The topic is expected to be discussed at November’s Lamar County Board of Supervisor’s meeting.
“I think this is very important to the sports in our town," Sumrall said. "They need a good facility and I think this is going to be an ideal place for them.”