Facility makeover

Ruckers Sports Complex
to be remodeled through donations

The city's sports facility is 25 years old

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(March 2008) – Madison, Ind.’s Warren R. Rucker Sports Complex will get some much-needed upgrades and renovation thanks to numerous community donations including $10,000 from the Community Foundation of Jefferson County.
“Community support for the sports complex is just tremendous,” said Harold Lakeman, the new director of the Madison Parks and Recreation Department. “We have been pledged financial support from a variety of businesses and industry.”
Renovations have already begun at the 25-year-old sports complex. The infields have been rebuilt, and resurfacing of the fields should be completed by the time ball sports start later in the year. “We have to wait on the weather to put the top dressing back on the fields,” said Lakeman.

Harold Lakeman

Harold Lakeman

In addition to the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, the Madison Kiwanis Club, King’s Daughters’ Hospital and Health Services, Rotary Lift, Arvin Sango Inc., Duke Energy, Bush Keller Sporting Goods and Suggett and Schmidt Properties have already donated more than $25,000 for the renovations. Numerous other companies have pledged close to $60,000 for the complex.
Warren R. Rucker Sports Complex is located on Madison’s hilltop on Green Road. Each year, hundreds of children use the ball fields during the city park department’s baseball, softball and soccer leagues. Adult leagues also use the fields during ball seasons.
The park offers four lighted baseball-softball diamonds, two unlit baseball fields, one soccer-football field, four soccer fields and one football field. All of the fields are equipped with bleachers for spectators.
Mike Armstrong, director of the philanthropic arm of Midwest Tube Mills Inc., said the company plans to donate security fencing for ball fields. Currently, security fencing around the ball fields is only four feet high. Sections of the new fencing will be eight-feet high to help with flyaway balls that at times have flown into spectators during ball games. Part of the new fencing will be overhead security fencing that will replace some of the netting currently in place to protect crowds from fly-aways, said Lakeman.
Restrooms and food concessions are available during the baseball and football seasons. The complex has a picnic area, a shelter house, barbecue grill and ample parking. An adjacent Playground for All Children is accessible to all children, including those with special needs such as wheelchairs. Swings, modern gym equipment and a skateboard park are included at the playground.
In 1999, a multi-purpose building was completed for ball diamonds five and six and two soccer fields. It contains a concession facility, press box and restrooms. Lakeman said a future plan for the sports complex would be to gut the press box and open it up for more concessions and a possible area to sell sports equipment. “We would love to expand our offerings at the concessions area and eventually add more opportunities in that area,” he said.
Also in the future would be more restrooms and a possible office. A basketball court is also on the agenda. The original plans for the complex had included a basketball court, but one was never added. “Those are items that will be down the road a bit, but we would love to have them done when we can,” said Lakeman.
Lakeman is currently working on a dedication ceremony for the sports complex to celebrate its 25th anniversary. “We are milling around some ideas and are in the first stages of planning at this point,” he said.

• Anyone wishing to donate to the renovations at Warren R. Rucker Sports Complex can call Harold Lakeman at Madison City Hall at (812) 265-8300.

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