Johnson City Vice Mayor Jenny Brock will accept the award at the annual USA Softball of Tennessee Hall of Fame Banquet in Chattanooga on Saturday.
“There were several great nominations this year, and we ultimately chose Winged Deer Park due to the longtime partnership with USA Softball, the number of events held there and the commitment from Johnson City to expand their offerings,” said Tina Gale, State Complex of the Year Committee chairwoman.
The committee recognizes cities that support USA Softball and have made commitments to provide quality facilities for adult and youth softball participants to enjoy.
Winged Deer Park boasts five championship-caliber fields. The state-of-the-art complex opened in April 1991 with a four-field, wagon wheel design. An additional field was added several years later to better accommodate league and tournament play.
The City of Johnson City recently purchased an additional 36 acres adjacent to the park with plans to add diamond and rectangular fields in the near future.
“This will enhance the city’s league and tournament offerings,” said James Ellis, Johnson City Parks and Recreation director. “The relationship between the city and USA Softball began during Howard Johnson’s tenure as the first park director, and it continues today some 50 years later. We have hosted hundreds of invitational, state and regional tournaments in addition to 16 USA Softball National Tournaments.
“The National events held here include all four age groups of the girl’s slow-pitch divisions, the girl’s 10U fast-pitch nationals on three occasions, girl’s 18U fast-pitch twice, the men’s major open slow-pitch nationals three times, the men’s super-slow-pitch division twice and the men’s major church national. These events have pumped millions of dollars into the local community, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels and other businesses have fully supported these efforts.”
Each dugout at the complex utilizes phones to enable communications between the teams and the scorers in the central tower. Both outfield and infield irrigation helps keep the fields in great shape during hot and dry weather.
All five fields are lighted and have scoreboards. The central tower houses restrooms and a concession area on the main level with a meeting area, scorer’s areas and an office upstairs. In addition to having two fenced warm-up areas, there are three rectangular fields for additional warm-ups prior to games.
In addition to the softball complex, Winged Deer Park includes an 18-hole disc golf course, 1.2 miles of paved and lighted trails, mountain bike trails, a lakefront area with a boardwalk, two playground areas, pavilions, and an amphitheater. The complex has over 400 parking spaces with additional parking along the lakefront.