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Will the Johnny Downs Sports Complex be ready in time for the Dixie League World Series?

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The question remains on if the Johnny Downs Sports Complex will be complete in time for the Dixie League World Series that is scheduled for later this month.

Construction crews are working to finish the four softball fields so they will be ready to play on for the tournament. Alexandria is hosting four Dixie League World Series tournaments this year at the complex.

In December of 2019, an EF3 tornado tore through Alexandria and heavily damaged the facility. Back in January, the Alexandria City Council approved to spend $6.53 million on renovations to the complex. The renovations included new fencing, dugouts, press boxes, concession stands, batting cages and placing artificial turf on all eight playing fields.

Over a year and a half after the tornado, the construction crews are getting close to getting the facility back in use.

Cam Hallman, the Superintendent for Parks and Recreation in Alexandria, said, “Now that people can actually see the backstop netting and the bricks that have been laid out, they are starting to get really excited. Now that they are starting to see stuff put out here, and seeing what the product is, the buzz around the city has increased tremendously.”

While the four softball fields are scheduled to be finished in time for the tournament, the four baseball fields still need more work. Construction will continue on the complex, including the baseball fields, while the tournament is going on, but it will not cause the games to be moved to a different location or be postponed.

The main reason why all eight playing fields won’t be complete in time is because of the heavy rainfall that Alexandria has had this year. The total amount of rain from Feb. 1 to June 30 is 32.39″ which is 40 percent above normal. In April alone, the city saw 12.29″ of rain, which makes it the 5th wettest April on record dating back to 1892.

“D’Argent Companies was having to pump out a lot of the water off the fields. The rain set it back but the construction crews have really come in here and have been nonstop,” said Hallman.

The city is expecting a successful world series this year with the softball fields nearing completion. Dr. Keith “Skip” Fox, the President of Dixie Softball in Alexandria, said they secured four more world series for 2022 and seven more for 2023.

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