It’s been almost 20 years in the making, but Daphne city leaders celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s new sports complex last week.
The 116-acre property on Park Drive will be the home of 10 new baseball/softball fields as well as a host of other amenities that will eventually include a hiking/biking trail and a lake water feature.
Daphne Mayor Dane Haygood said the project has been talked about in Daphne for almost two decades now, so he and others across Daphne were glad to be starting this project.
“To really see us move forward and know that we’re going to start getting our hands dirty, the finish line is that much close and we’re very excited,” Haygood said.
“This going to be the new home for our baseball and softball programs, but it will also have some other amenities,” Haygood said. “It’s going to be something everyone in the community can enjoy.”
Haygood said the size of the new complex will be unlike anything Daphne residents have seen before.
“By comparison, we’ve been playing baseball primarily at Lott Park, which is about 10 acres,” Haygood said. “You get a feel of the scope and size and scale of what this park is going to look like, and it’s going to be a crown jewel for the city of Daphne.”
City staff said the project would likely take a year and a half to finish primary construction on the main parts of the facility.
Staff also said the project could not have come to fruition without the dream and push from former Daphne Mayor Fred Smalls.
Councilman Robin LeJeune, who serves as council liaison for the city’s Recreation Board, said he’s glad the city is finally creating new space for the city’s children to use.
“It was just something seen through the eyes of my kids and what they’ve done,” LeJeune said. “We’ve been to all of our facilities here and we’ve gone and traveled to other facilities. We’re still using those same facilities from back then even though we’ve grown tremendously as a city.”
LeJeune thanked his fellow council members for voting to move the project forward, and he hoped the facility would be something that would make Daphne residents proud.
“This is just a great first step for us,” LeJeune said. “There is going to be more to come.”