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Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Tinsley Park Field of Dreams


Build It and They Will Come

The famous movie line from “Field of Dreams” was “If you build it, he will come.”

Well, Bossier City has built “it,” and “he” isn’t the only one coming.

Fourteen million dollars’ worth of additions and renovations to the Tinsley Athletic Complex, off Highway 80 East in Bossier, are almost finished (expected completion date Nov. 15). Already, 31 weekends in 2022 are booked with baseball and softball tournaments.

“We’re guesstimating anywhere from 65 to 100 teams will be in town (each weekend),” said Kenny Carswell, youth sports supervisor at Bossier Parks and Recreation (BPAR). “As many as 50 of those teams will be from out of town.

When hundreds — if not thousands — of kids, parents and grandparents arrive, they will find 11 ball fields, which can accommodate games for various age groups. Six of the 10 fields are new, including an Americans with Disabilities Act field. A rubber-type surface will allow for players in wheelchairs and those who use walkers.

“I’m 100 percent confident (the entire complex) will be first class,” Carswell said.

All the new fields feature not only shade over the grandstand but “fans — huge fans,” Carswell said, to help spectators tolerate the Louisiana heat.

Each field — old and new — will have a turfed infield and a natural grass outfield.

“Before, when we rented our facilities, we were at the mercy of rain if they would be able to play,” said Clay Bohanan, director of BPAR. “Now, with turf infields, they will be able to get their games in. Drainage has been improved to get water off the outfields.”

In addition, all fields will have new LED lights.

Players can use 14 hitting tunnels located between the new and renovated fields for pre game batting practice.

“They will be halfway covered,” Bohanan said. “The bottom half will be open so air can flow through.”

Between the “old” and “new” fields, visitors will find a two-story concession stand. The upper deck will have TVs showing the games below. Downstairs, there will be accommodations for as many as 24 officials to shower and dress. That’s in addition to another large concession area, bathrooms and a meeting room.

Many of the tournament teams will travel from other areas. That means a lot of families will be spending money in Bossier and Shreveport.

“They all need some place to stay,” Carswell said. “They all go to eat two to three meals a day. (The economic impact) is going to be huge.”

“That was the motivation — to get people in town,” Bohanan said. “We offer a lot here in Bossier and Shreveport, a lot for parents and their kids to see and do … We’ve got a lot of places to eat. We’ve got a lot of hotel rooms — about 10,000 available. We can get the people traveling from as far away as Jackson, Miss., people out of Little Rock coming down, people out of Dallas coming over to play, and people out of South Louisiana coming to play, too. We feel like we’ve got an excellent location and an excellent product to market.”

Carswell has been responsible for booking the tournaments. Thanks to word-of-mouth, that’s something which hasn’t been hard to do.

“I really haven’t had to approach anybody,” Carswell said. “Everybody has been approaching me. I’ve been getting calls pretty much non-stop. Everybody wants to play here.”

Should families choose to drive to Bossier in their motor home, Bohanan said there would be nine RV parking spots with sewage, water and electric hookups. There will also be a preplanned service for nine additional pads if there is high demand.

Construction on the project began in January 2020. Amanda Nottingham, Bossier’s chief administrative officer, said the money used came from a bond issue passed by the city council in December 2018.

To learn more about the Tinsley Athletic Complex, you may visit www.bossiercity.org.


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