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School expansion displaces Wicksburg youth sports; some residents aim to incorporate community

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Right now, Wicksburg youth baseball and softball teams have been displaced due to their permanent field being taken over by high school expansion — forcing them to commute to surrounding areas to play ball.

“Most people have been supportive due to the crunch we are in,” Bryson Sanders said. We currently have a deal with Clayhatchee I don’t think they were using their park and then a deal with Daleville that cost us money but it was doable for this year.”

But the most expensive cost is having to build a new park. The school that owns the property is using its space to build a new gym, more classrooms, and a parking lot.

The education board did give the Wicksburg Youth Athletic Association an area to rebuild on the campus — but that will cost the nonprofit millions of dollars.

“We operate on registration fees and concessions at those events,” Sanders said. “We’re relying on the community to step up and help when they can whether that’s financially or labor.”

One task that could be an avenue to funding a new field is making the community incorporated — an idea that has been pushed recently by a group of residents and has sparked some debate in the community.

“If we can help the ball fields by accessing grant money which we do not know yet because we are still gathering information that will help our children and community greatly,” Clayton Shoupe said.

Shoupe says it’s not all about the ball fields and there is no hidden agenda. They are currently surveying to find out the pros and cons of incorporating the area.

“We want to preserve our community and to make sure our children have a town to come back to because we are growing at a fast pace,” Shoupe said.

In addition, there could be a vote on hotel tax in Houston County on the November ballot that could benefit revenue for tourist attractions such as recreation facilities.

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