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  GMPRS readies for inaugural season at the Ray Jones Family Athletic Complex

MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (02/20/15) – It may be cold outside, but Greater Muhlenberg Parks and Recreation director Tommy Barton said he and his staff are eager for spring.

This year will mark the first at the new Muhlenberg County Park and Ray Jones Family Athletic Complex and they are getting ready for lots of activity there.

“We have started preparing the ball fields in anticipation of a busy year of baseball and softball at the new park,” Barton said.

The complex will host the Muhlenberg County youth baseball and softball leagues and will provide an economic impact for the county by drawing traveling teams for tournaments. There are already 18 weekend tournaments booked from March through November, Barton said, with national sports organizations such as Ball Players Association, Amateur Softball Association and the National Softball Association bringing teams to the county to play.

“These tournaments are expected to draw between 20 and 40 teams from all over the region to play at the new complex each weekend,” Barton said.

The five diamonds at the Ray Jones Family Athletic Complex will be home to the unified Muhlenberg County Little League and Girls Softball league, along with Greenville and Bremen T-Ball and Rookie leagues. GMPRS will also host county All-Star tournaments at the new complex.

"Central City and Beechmont will host T-Ball and Rookie leagues at Central City Elementary and Muhlenberg South Elementary schools, as decided in a 2012 agreement between the county's leagues," Barton said.

Baseball and softball are only a few of the things planned for the first year at the Muhlenberg County Park, Barton said. A 3-on-3 basketball tournament, sand volleyball league and youth tennis camp are just a few of the events planned this summer at the park.

Muhlenberg County Park was made possible by a large grant from the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation along with donations from several local businesses and individuals.

“The land was leased to GMPRS by the Muhlenberg County Board of Education,” Barton said. "The school district pays one salary for a maintenance worker and donated two used mowers to the park district. They also provided some maintenance supplies."

Barton said new age determinations handed down by the national Little League organization, as well as the transition to the new park, may cause some confusion as people sign up for summer ball. He and site coordinators will be on hand at registration locations to answer questions.

Registration for baseball and softball will be held every Saturday in February, from 9 a.m. to noon at Central City Dairy Queen, Bremen Elementary School, Muhlenberg South Elementary School and at the GMPRS office, located at Muhlenberg County Park. For more information, call the park office at 270-377-1900.

“If you haven't been out to visit the new park,” Barton said, “you should come out and take a look around. There is something for everyone. We have completed construction of five tennis courts, two basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, batting cages, a playground and walking and hiking trails.”

GMPRS was established in 2012 and has grown from one employee in a basement office to a staff of 20 at the newly completed park. Barton said it is one of the premier park facilities in the tri-state area and is located behind Muhlenberg County High School West Campus, at 200 County Park Drive in Greenville.

Information provided by Tommy Barton
J.L. Graham
KenCo News