The non-profit USA Softball of Tennessee has named Knox County’s Sportspark as its “Complex of the Year for 2020.”
The Karns-based park competed against complexes across the state. USA Softball, which governs softball in Tennessee, has 15 districts, 32 officers, more than 500 teams and over 250 umpires. The organization’s committee recognizes cities and counties that support USA Softball and have made commitments to provide quality facilities for adult and youth ballplayers to enjoy.
“Our park system is top of the line,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “I’m not a bit surprised that our team has won this award because they work hard to take care of every park and take pride in supporting that part of smaller communities.”
Members of the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department received the award last week in Johnson City as part of USA Softball’s annual Hall of Fame banquet. The event was delayed until this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sportspark, located at 8050 Oak Ridge Highway, features four baseball/softball fields for hosting a number of youth fastpitch softball tournaments throughout the year, one field exclusively for baseball, and three practice football fields. The park also has a playground, a walking trail, concessions, a kayak launch and a pavilion for picnics.
“It took all of us and a lot of hard work to get this recognition and it was truly a team award for our department,” said Jennifer Gentry, a sports operations manager with the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department. “We have a well-run and beautiful facility.”
Gentry also thanked the department’s senior director, Joe Mack; recreation director, Troy Fleming; sport operation manager, Jeff Kincaid; tournament weekend superintendent, Branon Gann; and maintenance superintendent, Randy Thompson, and his crew, Joe Braden and Bill Griffin.
The award was in the form of a wrestling belt as a nod to Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, a WWE superstar and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Abbey Harris is deputy director of communications for Knox County.