Since 2008, Chattanooga has invested approximately $15 million in softball facilities and nationally recognized tournaments like this week's ASA 16 and Under Fast Pitch National Championship are signs that the investment is paying off, according to tournament officials.
Kim Swafford, Amateur Softball Association commissioner for the Chattanooga area, said the city is seeing a resurgence in national attention thanks to the recent refurbishing of the Warner Park facilities and the opening of the state-of-the-art Summit of Softball complex two years ago.
The 2008 refurbishments to Warner Park included about $2.8 million for ball field and land development. It cost about $12 million to construct the seven-field Summit complex in 2009.
"The associations are encouraging us to keep putting bids in for more tournaments," she said.
The Summit of Softball was created using the latest concepts and technology in sports field construction. The complex consists of eight softball fields that have been laser graded to optimize playing conditions.
The entire complex is extensively landscaped, including landscape planters and shade trees strategically located around the pedestrian plazas between the fields. Custom site furnishings include entry signage, entry arches, railings, seat walls, shade structures, trash receptacles, and specialty paving in pedestrian areas. These elements exhibit a softball theme and are color-coded to help visitors navigate around the site. Energy-efficient sports lighting is specified to minimize light pollution into the night sky.
Sunday's championship games will be played at Warner Park's Jim Frost Stadium. The 3,000-seat stadium includes first-base, third-base and outfield bleachers and 800 chairback seats behind home plate. Amenities included are concession stands, restrooms, a glass-enclosed press box, two sky boxes, climate-controlled locker rooms connected to the dugouts, batting cages and bullpens.