Dauphin, PA: The John Hess Softball Field Complex, operated by the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority in State College, has earned the Keystone Athletic Field Manager's "Field of Distinction" honors for 2014. The award presentation was held during the 18th Annual Athletic Field Conference by KAFMO and the PA Recreation & Park Society on February 21, 2014, in Grantville, PA.
The four softball fields at the Hess Complex were built by local softball enthusiasts starting in the 1960's. Since that time the site has hosted numerous leagues, statewide tournaments and special softball events, including the PIAA Regional Softball Playoffs. Rather than losing this privately-owned site to commercial development, the Centre Region Council of Governments acquired the 21-acre complex in late-2010 as part of the Regional Parks Initiative. With shared municipal funding from the 5 municipalities, and In advance of the 2011 softball season, the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Authority updated and upgraded the overall facility, including renovating the infields and the outfield turf, safety improvements, ADA access, new dugouts, and burying the utility lines. During 2013, the complex hosted 712 softball games from 4 leagues and 8 statewide tournaments. Groups interested in scheduling a 2014 tournament at the Hess Complex are urged to contact Recreation Supervisor Jeff Hall at CRPR.
The Hess Complex is one of 54 sites operated by the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority across five municipalities in the State College area. Park operations are the responsibility of Parks Manager Jim Carpenter, Assistant Parks Manager Ted Weaver and their staff. The agency previously received a KAFMO Field of Distinction Award in 2010 for the soccer facilities at Fogleman Field Complex in College Township. The "Field of Distinction" is awarded annually by KAFMO to sportfields that have demonstrated a dedication to providing safe and playable conditions for all users regardless of the level of play. The KAFMO Board of Directors judges all entrants.
The Keystone Athletic Field Managers Organization is a group of over 300 individuals committed to enhancing the professionalism of sportfield managers across the state. Their mission is to improve the safety, playability and appearance of all sportfields in PA. KAFMO members represent municipal agencies, school districts, colleges, professional facilities, youth leagues, educators and commercial vendors. Information is available at http://www.KAFMO.org