Edmond 66 Softball Park
Cooperstown, New York, may lay claim to baseball in the United States, but Oklahoma City will always be the national headquarters for softball.
It’s the home of the National Softball Hall of Fame. It’s the home of the Women’s College World Series. The Sooners are the national champs (again). Oklahomans love softball, and Edmond is giving its players a new, world-class facility—the Edmond ‘66 Softball Park—for their favorite sport.
“We’re totally excited about the new fields,” says Jacky Muse, President of Edmond’s Adult Softball Association (ASA). “The fields are the best in town, and the facility is better for players and spectators. And the Route 66 theme is awesome. It’s time to play ball.”
Scheduled for completion by September, the complex sits at the intersection of Route 66 and Post Road, a stone’s throw from Arcadia’s POPS. It will replace the aging Bickham Park which is the home of the ASA and its 1,500 members. Almost 30 years old, Bickham Park can’t meet the growing demand for softball in Edmond. Its concession stand isn’t built for crowds and its lack of bathrooms, water fountains and other amenities challenge it from hosting major tournaments.
The new complex, with four fields, paved parking, a state-of-the-art concession stand and other amenities, is eagerly anticipated by Edmond’s softball crowd. “The facility is awesome. We won’t have to worry about drainage anymore and the complex is very cool. The park atmosphere is a great setting for games. It feels like a place where softball should be played. I can’t wait for the first pitch,” says Chris Berry, an ASA player for over ten years. Four more fields are planned for later development.
The look and feel of the park reaches back 50 years into the past to Route 66’s heyday. Spectators will get their food from a concession stand designed with the aura of a 1960s gas station. Its cantilevered roof, bright colors and clean lines brand it as an excellent addition to Oklahoma’s Route 66 culture—the only things missing are the gas pumps.
One key feature of the new fields isn’t obvious, but makes all the difference to players. The drainage on the diamonds is state of the art. At Bickham Park, a good rain can put the fields out of commission for days. The Edmond ‘66 fields will recover faster from rain, meaning fewer schedule changes for players and more time on the field.
The designers pulled the park’s fun, retro character out of the past, but its engineers did something altogether new and different. They built the complex on one of Edmond’s many flood plains. As a successful proof of concept, the park will show that drainage on the flood plains is viable. Flood plains around the city will become potential recreational sites, greatly expanding Edmond’s opportunities to build fun and entertaining venues for residents.
Locals won’t be the only ones taking the mound at the new complex. The facility is expected to draw tournaments from around the state and nation. A few outside tournaments a year will more than pay for the new complex’s upkeep with new tourism dollars.
For now, though, Edmond softball players’ decade-long wait is over. No more wet fields. No more scrambling for parking. No more missing two innings to wait in line for the bathroom or a hotdog. Berry speaks for all of his fellow players with the most American sound bite of all: “Play ball!”