Starkville Parks and Rec garners state recognition

September 26, 2009 9:26:00 PM

Tim Pratt -


STARKVILLE - The Starkville Parks and Recreation Department is celebrating two awards it won this week at the Mississippi Recreation and Park Association Conference in McComb.  


Starkville won the award for Outstanding Facility Design among Class II Parks and Recreation departments for the recently completed Sportsplex facility on Lynn Lane. Class II Parks and Recreation departments are found in cities whose population lies between 15,000 and 34,000 people, Starkville Parks and Rec director Matthew Rye said. 


Architect Gary Shafer designed the Starkville Sportsplex and was on hand for the award ceremony. 


"With the best design, I think it''s great not only for Parks and Recreation, but also for the city of Starkville," Rye said. "It''s something that the Department, the Park Commission, the architect, the contractor, everybody can hang their hats on. Everybody worked together and this shows you what can be done when everybody puts their ideas together and works together." 


The Starkville Parks and Recreation Department also won the Outstanding Examples of Recreation Programming award for its Silly Sports Camp, which took place over several weeks this summer at the Sportsplex. Silly Sports camp staff taught area youth traditional sports, such as softball, volleyball and track and field, but added elements to make the activities "silly," program coordinator Lisa Cox said. For example, participants used 2-litre bottles as bats during a softball activity, Cox said. 


"Kids like to be silly and a lot of times they can learn if you make it fun for them," Cox said.  


Cox and Rye said Friday they are thrilled with the two awards and all the volunteers who made them possible. 


"We''re very proud of the hard work the staff has put in to get the best program (award) for the Silly Sports Camp this summer," Rye said. "I think it''s an award they can be proud of because they worked hard at it. We look forward to continuing to do that program every year." 


Cox credited much of the success to Lauren Clayton Love, who was instrumental in organizing the Silly Sports camp, as well as Emily Dodson, Nick Caitling, Adam Love, Doug Bedsaul and Linsey Mixon. All served as coaches or volunteers this summer, Cox said.  


"This was a team effort," Cox said. "The camp would not have been so great without these people helping. I think this was a camp these kids are going to remember for a long time and that''s what we wanted to accomplish." 


In other Department news, Rye announced Friday the result of the naming contest for the city park at Avenue of Patriots and Whitfield Street. The park will be named Patriots Park. 


According to Rye, 148 names were submitted to the Parks and Recreation Department, with Patriots Park receiving the most votes at 40.