Projects galore for Pike County area in ‘09

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, January 1, 2009

[Editor’s note: This week, The Messenger looks back at the 2008 sports in Pike County. Today, we take a look at what is coming in 2009.]

As 2008 rolls into 2009 there are many projects in the works across the sporting world. Two of the undertakings high on the list are the multipurpose facility in the works on the Troy University campus and the Miracle Field complex at the Troy Sportsplex.

Both of these projects require fundraising and much support from the community, but Troy Athletic Director Steve Dennis and Troy Parks and Recreation director Dan Smith are optimistic about 2009.

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“We are pushing forward to better our facilities, especially the multipurpose facility,” Dennis said. “We are working hard to increase our Trojan Warrior booster club. We just need to keep raising money and raising the bar.”

Dennis said the project is a work in progress, but it has made great strides in 2008 and he is looking for that to continue as the year rolls into 2009. But the scope of the fundraising arm of the project is changing.

“We need to have this facility and we are trying to reach more people with this facility,” Dennis said. “We are trying to help encourage people to be a part of this project and to take equity in our program.”

Dennis stresses that this building will be for the entire University, not just the athletics wing of Troy.

Across the way at the Troy Sportsplex, Smith and the Parks and Recreation staff are working hard to make the Miracle Field complex a reality.

“We are really excited about our long range plan for the Sportsplex,” Smith said. “We have 130 acres and we are working on a project that has exciting possibilities. We will be putting a series of walking trails throughout the complex, some playgrounds, a few pavilions and a Miracle Field complex.”

The plans were introduced for the Miracle Field in March of 2008 and the TP&R department is about 40 percent of the way to their goal of $325,000 for the project.

“We hope to see progress in the fundraising for the Miracle Field in 2009,” Smith said. “We want to reach our goal in 2009 and break ground on the field. Every year we wait is one the children have to wait. And we know when it is completed it will be one of the most wonderful things we have done here.”

Outside of the multipurpose facility and the Miracle Field complex there are many other aspects of sports in Pike County that Dennis and Smith are looking forward to in 2009.

Troy University will be hosting the 2009 Sun Belt Baseball Championship tournament at Riddle-Pace Field May 20-23. Dennis said the University is also still upgrading to make all facilities NCAA Division I ready.

“There are so many things we are moving forward on in 2009,” Dennis said. “But one of the most important is we are in the last steps of making our football facility and all the other facilities into DI facilities. We are going to get there, but we have some more little things we need to do to complete the process.”

While Troy University is working on upgrading to DI standards, the Troy Parks and Rec. Department is working to keep its athletes competing on a high level.

“We have been pleased with the success of our youth programs,” Smith said. “We are proud with how many teams we have do well when it comes tournament time and that is a tribute to all the parents and coaches.”

Smith said making sure Troy continues to be a top-notch program is always a priority.

“We place an emphasis on every detail and we make sure we are very professional in all that we do,” he said.

As far as quality of facilities is concerned, the TP&R department will also be refurbishing the basketball courts in the Rec Center in 2009 in an effort to keep the facility in top shape.

The year 2009 should present the Pike County area with many interesting sports stories and it should be a good year for all athletes in the area.

There will be many of the high school teams that will be vying for a state championship and the Pike Liberal Arts School Patriots will have to protect theirs when the football season rolls around.