South Park Sports Complex in Elizabeth City, NC
South Park. No, it's not the cartoon show. South Park Sports Complex opened in Elizabeth City in August 2011.
The $2.7 million multi-use facility is a joint venture by Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County to develop a proposed industrial site that never came to fruition. Instead, the community now has a beautiful recreation facility located virtually in the middle of the county.
“It's an easy place to access. South Park is close to the Coast Guard base, close to the middle school, and pretty close to the high school,” says Bobbi White, director of the Elizabeth City/Pasquotank County Parks & Recreation Department. “The complex was funded with two $500,000 state recreation grants, and the rest of the money came from the city and county.”
Even an Umpire’s Room
South Park has five baseball/softball fields, three of which have 200-foot fences while the other two fields have 250-foot fences. All fields are equipped with lights for night games.
“There is also a playground, a pavilion for picnics, concession stand and restrooms area, and an observation room above the concession stand to be used by people running tournaments or other events,” White says. “There is even an umpire's room where umps can change clothes and relax between games.”
Also on the grounds is a baseball batting cage, softball batting cage and golf driving range.
“We have already held ball tournaments that drew teams from other communities, meaning that people were spending sports tourism dollars at our restaurants, hotels, stores and gas stations in Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County,” White says.
Welcome, 30 Teams
One of those tournaments took place barely a month after South Park opened, with 30 teams representing Nations Baseball Virginia. That weekend drew players and their families from southeastern Virginia and northeast North Carolina.
“Nations Baseball Virginia heard about the opening of our beautiful new facility and wanted to be a part of it,” White says. “This complex can accommodate up to 30 teams for baseball games and tournaments for boys age 12 and under, and softball games and tournaments for girls age 18 and under. Grandstands at each field can hold up to 200 spectators each.”
Prior to South Park becoming a reality, White and Charlotte Underwood visited a similar sports complex in Rocky Mount, N.C. to gather information for the Elizabeth City project. Underwood is director of the Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The two women learned that besides hotel, restaurant, store and gasoline tourism factors, visiting teams also pay a field rental fee, a gate fee for entering tournaments, and a vendor fee if they want to sell any baseball/softball-related products.
“These tournaments are money-makers – you just need an attractive place to stage them,” White says. “South Park is that place."
Learn about more sports in Elizabeth City, NC.