Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Small Town Shows Big Support

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Small Town Shows Big Support

Article excerpt

With a population of only about 8,000 citizens, Petal, Miss. may be considered small by many standards, but not in the area of recreation. After recently being named the state's Sportstown, Recreation Director Tom Hardges says he's still shocked at the amount of support the town gives Iris programs.

With two city parks that include two softball and baseball fields, as well as open areas and playgrounds, the recreation department tries to do a lot with not much. The department works with the town's schools to add more facilities to its arsenal of places to play.

With plenty of room to expand, Petal has 14 acres ready to be developed into a new park, with a sport-splex, two soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, and more softball fields. Although the town has gotten the funding, they are still working to get their small community to match the funds.

"This is Petal--the support is outstanding," says Hardges, who thinks that over time, the community will be able to come up with the money.

He also marvels at the numbers of citizens involved in his programs. Although the main sports in Petal are baseball and softball, Hardges took a chance and started up an adult basketball program. …

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