By John Davis, Oxford Park Commission
A year of hard work paid off for the Oxford Park Commission’s staff involved in programming and facility design. The Mississippi Recreation and Parks Association awarded three first-place plaques to the OPC during its annual meeting in Tupelo this past October.
The OPC won the Hayward “Bo” Phillips Design Award of Merit for the FNC Tennis Center. The 20-court facility has been widely recognized as the most comprehensive in the state. It has hosted the Mississippi High School Athletics Association state tennis tournament the past two years, as well as a number of other tournaments involving youth and adults.
The Oxford Sport and Social Club garnered the Recreation Programming Award of Merit for Program Series, Class II. The series was started by OPC Executive Director Seth Gaines shortly after he arrived from Tupelo. The goal of the program is to bond members of the community through sports in a more leisurely setting. Sports such as kickball, Wiffle ball, volleyball and softball have created a unique experience for the adults, who have been able to mesh competition in a setting that fosters friendly relationships.
The final award won by the OPC was the Arts & Humanities Programming of Merit for a Single Program in Class II. That single program was the free self-defense class taught by master Norbert Woods. Women from the community gained valuable confidence and beneficial skills through the class and from working with Woods, a three-time black belt in karate with 36 years of experience in martial arts.
“It’s truly an honor to have been awarded these plaques from the MRPA,” Gaines said. “It shows the tremendous amount of work put in by a fantastic staff and a great group of volunteers that help make these programs and events possible. We appreciate the people of Oxford and Lafayette County for taking part in our programs and our tennis instructors who have helped make FNC so attractive. We couldn’t have done this without you. Your vision for a first-class facility is celebrated with this award from the MRPA.”