Parks & Recreation

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  •  Over             people used the community center.
  •       youth/adult sports programs had over         participants.
  •  Volunteers coached            hours.
  •           people participated in instructional/recreational programs.
  •  Over        seniors participated in programs/classes.
  •  The Senior Travel Group traveled         miles on   trips with        participants.
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Athletics & Recreational Programs

2017 HIGHLIGHTS

Recreation and Sports

Manager Finishes

on College Degree

Town Tulips

Are a Sure

Sign of Spring

Parks Maintenance

Crews Reach New

Heights

Recreational Fields

about to Come Alive

with America's Pastime

Collierville Tennis

Program is

Downright Smashing

Building Character

through Play with

Collierville Athletics

Collierville Parks on

Schedule for

Tennis Resurfacing

New Lights Will

Soon Shine

at Cox Park

Maintaining Town

Square Oaks is Second

Nature for Parks Crews

2/3/17 - Mark Ellis has worked for the Town of Collierville for 18 years. He worked his way up to Recreation and Sports Manager without a having a college degree, but that fact didn’t keep him from going ahead and getting one anyway.

Ellis initially started college in 1984, but left in 1988 to work fulltime. In 2012, he decided it was time to go back and finish the job. He enrolled in the online program at Mississippi State University in the Interdisciplinary Studies program. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in August, 2016.

As manager of the Recreation and Sports division of the Parks Department, Ellis administers and supervises sports programs for the Town and assists in the day to day operations of the division. He started his career with the Town as Athletic Coordinator.

Ellis’s advice to anyone in a similar situation is to “pace yourself” by limiting the number of courses you take each semester. He also said to research what courses are available to you in order to get the ones that will be most interesting. “I was able to take several marketing, web design, computer processing and sociology classes,” he said. “This not only made school more interesting, but helped me in my day to day work.”

"We are certainly proud of Mark on his graduation from Mississippi State University,” said Parks Director Greg Clark. “This is an example for our entire department that we should always set our personal and professional goals at the highest mark, and that hard work and commitment will help us achieve those milestones!"
2/22/17 - Signs of life are starting to pop up earlier than usual, as buds have appeared on many trees and shrubs. The Town Tulips have also started blooming around Collierville in locations such as Town Hall, Community Center, Morton Museum and Winchester medians. The Town’s Parks and Grounds Maintenance Crews planted a total of 7,500 Tulip bulbs.

Parks Maintenance Manager Neil Wiseman offers some tips to having successful Tulip blooms starting with replanting the bulbs every year.

“The heavy soils and high humidity we have is not conducive to the long term health of Tulip bulbs,” said Neil. “Residents looking to have their own tulips should look for Southern, hardy Tulips that they should be able to give several years of blooms - even if at a somewhat diminished bloom production each year.” Tulips generally hold their petals for only two to three weeks, however, some will bloom before others slightly stretching out the flower’s lifespan.

Parks Maintenance Crews also planted 200 Daffodils this year. Daffodils have the ability to come back each year and the crews are increasing their focus on locations that plantings of daffodils would be appropriate and successful.

4/20/17 - Before the chalk outlines can be laid on the baseball diamonds this spring season, the infrastructure needed to be checked to keep spectators safe in the stands. After 25 years of wear and tear, the wire backstops at the HW Cox Park baseball fields needed to be replaced. Town Parks Maintenance Crews swapped out all the backstops themselves, and kept the process completely in-house, saving the Town thousands of dollars.

Using lift trucks from the Fleet Services Division of Public Services, crews were able to safely replace the 30 foot tall backdrops, each one in about a week’s time. Three of the diamonds were completed last year, with the final field finished in mid-February. With baseball season right around the corner, the fields in Collierville will be in “tip top” condition all the way up to 30 feet.





3/6/17 - Beginning the last of week of March Collierville’s 15 baseball and softball fields will be alive with the sounds and sights of spring sports. From late March through May 29 over 1,000 youth ages 6-18 will play over 1,000 baseball, softball, T-Ball, and girls volleyball games combined. Believe it or not, just two people are the masterminds orchestrating this “Field of Dreams” puzzle of rosters and schedules. Brad Heacox and Mark Ellis seasoned veterans of the Collierville Recreational Sports Program Department put together year round recreational programming thousands of youth annually.

“Collierville’s Recreational Sports programs focus on building character, learning sportsmanship, the value of teamwork and acquiring basic athletic skills sets.” said Brad Heacox. The venues are the 68 acre H.W. Cox Park, 271 acre W.C. Johnson Park and 16 acre Suggs Park. Collierville is known for having some of the most pristine parks in the Mid-South and the playing fields are maintained by an experienced team of Parks Maintenance employees who among their many other duties keep the ball fields in top playing shape. Much like getting a race car back on the track after a pit stop, the Grounds and Parks Maintenance Division crews cut the grass at the fields, drag the dirt infields, line the base paths and batter’s box and pick up the trash all in time for the next round of games.

During the first three weeks of March teams are using the fields for practice getting ready for “real games” that begin on March 20th and run through May 29. “All 15 of our baseball and softball fields will be used every day from March 1-May 29 weather permitting.” said Greg Clark, Director of Parks.

To help both the coaches and players get ready for the season Collierville Parks sponsors the Doyle Academy Baseball and Softball Coaches and Players camp which will take place on March 11. Doyle Baseball academy is a Florida based organization centered on expanding the interest and participation in amateur baseball around the world. Every Doyle program is designed to increase and maximize every participant’s self-esteem and enjoyment of the game. On March 25th, the Collierville Parks will host a Recreational Baseball and Softball Opening Jamboree. “The Jamboree is basically a ceremonial official opening of the baseball and softball season,” said Mark Ellis. “Every team will play a game that day, all of our fields will be in use and it will be a lot of fun for the teams.”

3/20/17 - Beginning March 20th, “Order on the Court” will be the rule as tennis enthusiasts from five to sixty plus hit the courts for Collierville’s spring tennis season. Collierville’s Parks Tennis Program is designed to make the sport of tennis available to anyone who wants to learn the game in a fun environment. Collierville Parks offers tennis in the spring, summer and fall which includes camps, instructional clinics for youth and adults, adult recreational tennis leagues, United States Tennis Association (USTA) Adult Leagues, USTA Jr.(Middle School Age) Team Tennis, as well as, individual and team private instruction.

Collierville offers ten tennis courts, six lighted courts at H.W. Cox Park, two lighted courts at the Frank Road Tennis Courts and two courts at Estanaula Park. Tennis instructional programs and matches are scheduled on the courts through the Parks department at H.W. Cox Park. When scheduled tennis programs are not taking place at H.W.Cox Park, the courts are free to the public on a first come first “serve” basis. Tennis courts at Frank Road and Estanaula are not used for programs they are left open for public use. Collierville’s courts at H.W. Cox Park are also used by Collierville Schools for high school tennis practice and tournaments.

More than thirty million people play tennis. Although tennis has been a popular sport for decades there has been a marked increase in participation in youth tennis programs recently, which is evident in the Collierville Tennis program. “For about the last five years we have seen a steady increase in participation among youth in our programs,” said Lisa Gaither, Recreational Program Coordinator. “More families living in Collierville, the popularity of tennis around the country and the affordable costs of participating in tennis are contributing factors in the growth of our programs.” For example Collierville tennis clinics charge $16 per hour for instruction during an eight week session, so for about $135 dollars and the costs of a racket (about $30) an individual can get started on their way to learning the game of Tennis, a sport which can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Collierville tennis program participants learn basic skills, rules, scoring and etiquette on the courts through instructional play. The youngest players (ages 5-10) learn with modified equipment and on a smaller court. Then they advance to the middle school program (ages 12-14), where instruction continues with daily practices and weekend matches, set up to help young players progress in the game. After age 14, some players continue with adult clinics and programs.

Collierville uses the services of local tennis pros MJ Garnet and Tony Cherone for Collierville Park’s tennis programs. Garnett and Cherone along with their staff have decades of experience instructing children and adults, as well as group clinics/camps, organizing leagues, and hosting tournaments and special events. The Town has been proud to announce over the years when local USTA Leagues qualify for State/Regional/National Championships as was the case in 2010 when Coach Tony led a Collierville team to the USTA National Title. Collierville Parks seasonal youth and adult instructional clinics average 80 participants, the recreational leagues have 3-5 teams, Jr Team Tennis has 40-50 participants and the Collierville High School (CHS) Tennis Team includes46 players. Collierville’s Jr. Team Tennis and CHS Team have the largest number of players compared to other teams in the Memphis Metropolitan Area. The Town of Collierville Parks and Recreation Department is also a USTA Member.
9/27/17 - Conduct an Internet search for “youth sport specialization” and you will find numerous articles regarding the hot topic. Sport specialization is defined as intense training in one sport while excluding others. Specializing among younger athletes has become increasingly common and created a debate about the pros and cons of youth sport specialization. On the contrary, children who grow up playing multiple sports also have proven benefits including developing athletic ability, cognitive thinking and self-confidence.

The Town of Collierville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department has a wide variety of youth athletic programs dedicated to learning valuable skills while having fun in the process. With a high emphasis on developing good sportsmanship, participants work on building character, commitment, leadership, and attitude – skills that will benefit them well into adulthood.

“It is our goal that every participant has the opportunity to have fun, learn an athletic skill, and learn the values of teamwork and sportsmanship. These are games, and it is much more fun when everyone makes sportsmanship the number one priority,” said Brad Heacox, Town Athletic Coordinator. In addition to the benefit of development beyond athletic ability, the Town offers various sports to play throughout the year making the opportunity to participate easier for busy families.

Currently in the fall season, young athletes are participating in flag football, baseball, softball, and volleyball. Registration is also open for the winter sports including basketball, and will soon be followed by the spring baseball and softball season. In addition to the team recreational sports, the Town offers tennis clinics in the spring, summer and fall seasons for youth participants.

11/10/17 - The Town of Collierville not only provides a wide array of amenities throughout its parks system, but also a commitment to maintain its facilities at the highest standards. In early October of this year, the Town re-surfaced 4 existing tennis courts, 2 at Cox Park and 2 at Collierville High School, to provide a top quality surface for our citizens who play tennis.

Collierville’s tennis clinics start in August and end in mid- November. Lessons are available for adults and youth, and at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Courts are also available for general play by residents.

“We try to schedule a minimum of 2 of our outdoor tennis and/or basketball courts to be resurfaced each year, so all outdoor tennis and basketball courts are re-surfaced at least every 5 years,” said Parks Department Director Greg Clark. “Our outdoor courts receive a large amount of play from our residents and we want to provide them with the best surface that we can.”

Clark said the cost of the resurfacing contract this year was $23,000.00.

7/20/17 - Three baseball fields at H.W. Cox Park will be getting new state of the art lighting systems soon. The Town of Collierville’s Parks Department has been replacing lights at all of its game facilities as part of a long range initiative, and fields 1,2 and 4 at Cox Park are the last to receive the upgrade.

“Today’s lighting systems are so much more efficient than the ones from 30 years ago,” said Collierville Parks Director Greg Clark. The new system will allow Parks staff the ability to turn off the lights from a smart phone or set up a timing system for the lights to come on and go off automatically. “That reduces utility costs over the long haul,” said Clark.

The lights will also come with shields that prevent the bright beams required for evening ball games from spilling over into nearby resident’s yards.

The current lights are original to first phase of the park, which opened in 1984. They are mounted on wooden poles, which have twisted with time and weather. This results in misdirected light on the fields. The new lights will be mounted on concrete and metal poles and be more resistant to the elements.

The soccer complex and softball fields at W.C. Johnson Park, and the soccer complex at Progress Road Park have already received new lights as part of the initiative. The total cost of the project is $375,000.
3/24/17 - Neil Wiseman works for the Town of Collierville Grounds and Parks Maintenance Division and is in charge of maintaining the 7 giant oak trees which grow in Collierville's Historic Town Square.

Each of the 46 inch round oaks are maintained meticulously: the Grounds and Parks Maintenance Division has specialist arborists out on a regular basis to do health reports which includes examining the soil around them. The Town's grounds crews do daily surveys on the trees to monitor limb breakage from storms, and they do annual pruning to remove dead limbs and give them proper light and air flow.

"The trees are an asset," said Wiseman, "they give character to the Town Square. The Grounds and Parks Maintenance Division does all it can do to keep the trees healthy, not only for the look of the Square, but to keep the area safe for visitors to all the events that take place there."



  • Over 105,000 people used the community center.
  • 21 youth/adult sports programs had over 6,200 participants.
  • Volunteers coached 78,100 hours.
  • 4,400 people participated in programs/classes.
  • The Senior Travel Group traveled 7,600 miles on 4 trips with 275 participants.

 

 

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