Sports facility expanding programs

ENGLEWOOD — The Englewood Sports Complex has been serving the community with multiple indoor and outdoor recreational facilities for more than for 10 years and is still growing.

Carolyn Brown, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Manager, said the sports complex is very popular in the community.

“Let’s just say that there’s been nine multileague teams that used the facility and we’ve had five major tournaments take place there,” Brown said. “We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand on what we do there, customer experiences and what we offer to the community.”

The 134-acre facility at 1300 S. River Road, features eight youth baseball fields, two senior softball fields, four soccer fields, eight tennis courts and two playgrounds. Visitors can also reserve a picnic pavilion, two meeting rooms and an 11,000-square-foot multipurpose gym. The fitness room is open to the public.

The complex is home to several indoor and outdoor youth and adult leagues including baseball, badminton, basketball, softball, pickleball, soccer and tennis.

“We’re just trying to increase programming to get more folks out here,” said Wendy Alridge, program coordinator of Sarasota County Parks, “more folks to come up with new ideas and have new things to offer in the community. We’re open to new instructors coming in, putting a new focus on events. We’re actively trying to market the facility and amenities to get more people active and get them out here.”

Activity can be as simple as taking a hike on one of the three walking trails at the complex that add up to more than two and a half miles of exploration.

The first trail is a loop that measures approximately one quarter mile.

“Yeah, like the one we have out by the playground,” Alridge said. “It’s basically designated by the sidewalk. You walk four times to do the mile, so it’s the easy one.”

The second, paved trail, is about the length of the park.

The third trail measures just under two miles and takes you through a mix of concrete and grassy terrains.

“You get a full view of all of the fields we have out here,” Alridge said.

The fourth trail runs from the stop sign at Pine Street to the main facility.

Alridge said trail markers and maps available at the complex’s office help walkers get around.

Sandy Cavin of Senior Legends Women’s Softball has used the sports complex for more than three and a half years.

“The maintenance guys are awesome,” Cavin said. “The staff and complex are great to work with. The county always has a person on duty until 8 p.m. They make sure the facilities are tiptop and games aren’t canceled. They facilitate our success and the success of the league. It’s really good with that. I’m very pleased with the way the Englewood Sports Complex is run.”

For facility rentals, call 941-861-1980. For ball field rentals, call 941-861-9880.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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