A. L. Lott Sportsplex paving upgrade ‘exciting’

Published 5:00 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

Curtis Oliver is excited.

After years of behind-the-scenes work and planning, paving of the parking area at the Dr. A. L. Lott Sportsplex on South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is near completion. Dickerson & Bowen in Brookhaven has performed the work.

“I’m just so excited,” said Oliver, who has worked with the youth baseball program at Lott for many years, most recently serving as the Youth Baseball League’s program director and presi-dent. “This really enhances the look of the facility and the community, not just for the people who live and play here, but for people coming in from out of town.”

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Oliver has stepped away from the league this year to focus on other projects, but put a lot of time and effort into improving the Lott facilities over the years.

“A lot of people worked hard,” Oliver said, talking about repairs and facelifts on the property, as well as the installation of a flag pole sponsored by Woodmen of the World.  “I’m grateful to the aldermen — Andre’ Spiller, James Magee Jr. and Don Underwood, especially — for really pushing to get this paving project off the ground and completed. It just looks so nice.”

The baseball facility is named for and dedicated to Dr. A. L. Lott, Brookhaven’s first African-American medical doctor. The league’s purpose is to inspire children and help them stay active during the summer.

“We focus on fundamentals. We teach children to work hard and they can get more out of it,” said Oliver. 

Children have taken trips to watch high school and college games, and have had visits from players at those levels, including a 2023 visit from the entire Alcorn State University softball team. The children have noticed that players at those levels focus on the fundamentals, too.

“The kids have told me, ‘Hey, they’re doing what we do!’ or, ‘They’re doing the same things you teach us to do,’” Oliver said. “They see that it makes a difference.”

When players, coaches and families next arrive at the Sportsplex, Oliver is sure they will be impressed by the parking upgrades and enjoy their ball-playing experience even more.

Crossing his arms and smiling, the man surveys the work underway and says again, “I am excited about this.”