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Recreation: Litchfield parks open for play

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Stables Park in Litchfield is up and running with free tennis for the rest of October.

Georgetown County Council members and county officials joined contractors, athletes from Waccamaw High School and the public at two ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the facilities Monday.

“This means so much for our young folks,” said Council Chairman Johnny Morant.

Council Member Jerry Oakley called the ceremony a “grand occasion,” the culmination of years of work and prayer.

The festivities opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the multi-purpose field complex. Four turfed fields with lighting and a building containing rest rooms and a concessions stand along with the beginning of a walking path through a Carolina Bay on the property represent the first phase, County Administrator Sel Hemingway said. A second phase will add a fifth field. Ponds will be built for catch-and-release fishing, kayaking, canoeing and other water-related activities.

Also proposed for the facility are a dog park, picnic shelters, walking facilities and a children’s playground. Hemingway said the park’s biggest asset is its flexibility.

Unlike 8 Oaks Park, a baseball and softball facility on Highway 521 west of Georgetown that is closed except for league or tournament play, Stables Park’s fields will be open to the public during the day when grounds crews are stationed there. Night hours are also a possibility, and county officials encouraged public use for walking, running and other activities.

“The public has already been utilizing this property for those purposes, in fact, and we don’t want to see that change,” said Jackie Broach, county spokeswoman.

Use of the fields will begin in earnest Nov. 3 with an all-star football invitational. Six soccer tournaments — one with 60 teams competing — have been scheduled for spring. Lacrosse is also a possibility.

Members of Waccamaw High’s cross country team attended the ceremony at the multi-purpose field complex. They will use the facility as their home course once a layout is designed and certified.

Hemingway said he looked forward to more opportunities to share the facilities with the schools. “Our relationship has been good,” he said, “and now it will be great.”

Officials and guests then moved to the tennis facility and repeated the ribbon-cutting — once someone tied a knot in the ribbon.

The Waccamaw Regional Tennis Center building contains locker rooms, meeting rooms and a kitchen for catering. An outdoor fireplace offers a gathering place for both tennis-related events and a variety of others.

David Bromberg, the county’s tennis professional, will coordinate programs and lessons from a pro shop in the facility.

On hand Monday were members of the Waccamaw High girls tennis team. Stables Park is the new home for the girls and boys teams.

Hemingway said a junior tennis program would begin this week, and all others will be allowed to play on the courts free for the rest of the month on a first-come, first-served basis.

The tennis center has 10 courts, including two with clay surfaces, with room for 10 additional courts. Space was left for a stadium court in the future. Meanwhile, the grassy area can be used for activities like bocci and croquet.

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