Website Manager

Oxford Park Commission

Content

        

          Worth duPerier ready to introduce local youth to the sport of Pickleball


By John Davis 
Community Relations Director 

There was an immediate attraction to the sport of Pickleball for Worth duPerier. As a former tennis player suffering from shoulder pain, Pickleball offered similarities, while also providing valuable exercise benefits. 

For the past four years, duPerier has been engrossed with the Pickleball, a sport that has become very popular in Oxford, and across the nation. He became so hooked on the sport that he not only became a regular player, but he also became certified to instruct Pickleball a year ago.   

There are well over 200 who routinely play Pickleball locally, and duPerier is one of those who is looking to add to the wagon. 

“I played tennis since I was 8 years old and the attraction to Pickleball was instant,” duPerier said adding that the sport is similar to ping pong, badminton and racquetball. “It’s really a combination of a lot of different things. Although it is easier on your body, that’s what is attractive to the seniors; however, I think Pickleball is a quicker, faster game than tennis. The points back-to-back are really quick. You can hit a serve in tennis, it goes out, you got to go walk back, pick it up and then have a double fault. You could have one or two points in Pickleball before you get the first one in tennis.” 

From an exercise standpoint, Pickleball provides that despite the court being cut in half because it is so back and forth.  

“I’ve always told tennis players to come check it out and they’ve told me that Pickleball has helped improve their net game,” duPerier said. “There are a lot of people who are playing both. I could name five or six right now, if not more, who are playing both sports. But Pickleball and tennis are really almost opposite. In tennis, you’re trying to hit more winning shots. In Pickleball, there is more strategy. It’s more of a soft touch. Some of the tennis players actually have a tougher time adapting their strategy in Pickleball. It’s the lack of aggressiveness that you need in Pickleball. It’s more about soft shots and placement. Then more of the power will come into play.” 

The biggest reason duPerier decided to pursue becoming an instructor is to help spread the word, and to pass on the enjoyment to others. 

“Every beginner class that I have had has become addicted. They are now playing on a weekly basis,” said duPerier, who was certified in Atlanta in a two-day USPTA course that featured a number of on and off court sessions. “I’ve probably given about 30 different lessons so far.” 

A big key that duPerier tries to teach his participants is to set up the winning shot through strategy.  

“One of the big things to do is to let your opponent make the mistake. It’s counterintuitive for many players but over time, many players come to the realization that patience is an important aspect of Pickleball ,” duPerier said.  

The Coach Howell Activity Center is the main spot for Pickleball, and duPerier said it was one of the nicest spots in the country to be playing in. His Intro to Pickleball class that begins May 20 will be hosted in the center.  

“We have been playing outside because COVID has put the damper on us some getting inside. We do like outside, but the wind can be a factor sometimes,” he said. “We love indoor, and a lot of people will only play indoors because of the wind and the sun. The indoor surface here is really nice, and it slows the game down a little bit. It’s also a lot less stress on the knees to be playing inside on a surface like this.” 

Future growth of the sport is likely to come from grade-level students, and dePerier has been in talks with the school district to introduce the sport to a new group of faces.  

“I think it will be a great sport for those kids who maybe aren’t on a team,” duPerier said. “So far the youngest I’ve really seen playing is age 18 or 19. So I’ve been in talks with the school districts. We’re looking to start it as a club, and if the high school association in Jackson sanctions it, then it would become a sport. That’s my goal. I want to get as many young people out playing as possible. It’s a great option for those kids who may not have made the tennis team or the football team and looking for an organized sport to play.” 

Registration for the Intro to Pickleball class is currently available at oxfordparkcommission.com. There are only two spots left in the adult class.  

 

 

Content

                    OPC Outdoors goes back in time with prehistoric fossil trip






By John Davis
Community Relations Director

BLUE SPRINGS — Less than half a mile away from the location where one of man’s most modern inventions is manufactured, prehistoric fossils lie ready to be found by those willing to dig.  

In the shadow of the Toyota plant is a dug out pit that fossil and outdoor enthusiasts looking to learn about North Mississippi from 70 million years ago will enjoy immensely. 

The Coon Creek Formation runs through certain portions of Northeast Mississippi, and OPC Outdoors took young fossil collectors, and their parents, on a trip back in time.  

Thanks to the generous time granted by George Phillips, Paleontology Curator at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, trip explorers were able to extensively learn about the fossil bed located in Blue Springs, as well as actually get down in the dirt to retrieve and collect.  

Phillips told the participants that the fossil bed was first found in the late 1970s when road work between highways 178 and 78 was being completed. The first Blue Springs site was mined and studied by Dr. Gale Bishop of Georgia Southern. Phillips said over a dozen new species of crabs were found in the area. Not only were they new species to researchers here, but also new to researchers on a global scale.  

“He started exploring other parts of this area. There was a pond dug in the ‘60s and he found fossils along the pond,” Phillips said about Bishop’s work. “It wasn’t until 2006, 2007 when word got around that they were going to build the Toyota plant, we, those of us in geology, got out here as soon as the digging started. We monitored it for the next several years.” 

Ever since the exposure was uncovered during construction, the site has been visited by professionals, educators and those wanting to learn. 

“Over the last dozen years, people from all over the world have come here to collect the fossils in this unprecedented exposure of the Coon Creek Formation,” Phillips said. “Mississippi had never had an exposure of these fossil beds. For years, we were waiting on a public access to investigate this site. There are very few sites like this around the world. This is chock full of shells. The clay and sandy sediment here preserve such a great variety of things.” 

Blue Springs was one of two stops made during the excursion. Phillips first met the group at Flat Rock Church, a site near Hickory Flat. Some digging started before rain cancelled plans. There was enough time for Phillips to show the differences between sites. He told the class that the preservation of fossils has a lot to do with the chemistry of the surrounding area.  

“The area here (at Blue Springs) is a magical mixture, a Goldilocks mixture of sediments to preserve these fossils,” he said. “There are also a lot of diverse organisms, in this case marine organisms, that existed in a shallow bay. Pretend that you are looking at the sediment that is below the bottom of Mobile Bay. That’s the kind of things you will be finding out here. Lots of shells, shark teeth. On occasion we will find urchins. They are very rare.” 

Many of the items found during the fossil trip were oysters. Shellfish, crabs and lobsters also lived in the Mississippi Embayment 70 million years ago. Phillips told the participants that the shoreline during that time period would have been closer to Corinth or Tishomingo County. According to information provided through a website dedicated to geology, Coon Creek, which also includes parts of western Tennessee and Kentucky, eastern Arkansas, and even southeast Missouri, was much like southern Florida is now. That means semi-tropical temperatures, and waves from tropical storms like hurricanes churned up the shallow parts of the sea floor. The Blue Springs site would have been located in that shallower part of the thumb-print shaped bay.


Our Stories

   


By John Davis
Community Relations Director

Sometimes a longer wait ends up producing the best outcome. The new Oxford Park Commission activity center has been desired since 1998 and discussed in earnest for almost two handful of years. Thanks to the hard work put in by the members of Innovative Construction Management, work on the new activity center is about to begin.

Ever since April of 2016, Casey Rogers, the president of ICM, and his team have been working with city and community leaders on a plan to make talk turn into action. What started out as a discussion between the city and the university regarding a facility that would house indoor tennis, ICM worked with everyone involved to navigate the waters of development and actually get a project together that was truly suitable for everyone in the community.

The new $11.5 million project is efficient and stunning all at the same time. Pryor Morrow Architects joined forces with Ernest Joyner of Sink Combs to design the project. Joyner’s vast resume includes several Olympic projects around the world. The combined efforts produced a design that was stunning and efficient at the same time.

“The project team have maximized your program with the available funds. The building is extremely efficient and at the same time, it looks really good,” Rogers said. “We spent a lot of time pushing back and forth with the design team during the design phase on material selection, construction methods, layout, etc. in order to maximize the project scope. In every project the dynamics of scope, quality, and budget dictate the end product. By asking questions, such as: substituting materials here and there to gain more space for gymnastics without sacrificing quality, the team was able to produce the most efficient building. It’s about working with the architect to get everything just right. The amount of work that has been put into the project to get us to the point of pushing dirt, is amazing. Very few projects in the state of Mississippi have had this amount of planning involved. We do that with every job, but it’s rare and I think we’re unique in the amount of planning we do.”

A systematic approach to construction is what ICM offers clients. The activity center is the second project that ICM is working on with the city. The other is the new parking garage that will be placed off the Square. Rogers said the goal is to work really hard during design phase in order to improve the design documents to therefore reduce or eliminate costly change orders during the construction phase that plague most construction projects.

“We have a plan and that plan should not only be what the building looks like but also incorporate schedule milestones, production rates, quality control procedures, etc” Rogers said. “What happens on projects is on bid day, when they think they have a good deal and are on budget, as they go through construction process, change orders keep happening and they’re suddenly over budget halfway or three quarters of the way through.”

“What we say is let’s be proactive verses reactive. Let’s bring our construction knowledge into the design phase,” Rogers continued. “We have over $1 billion worth of construction knowledge in house. We bring all those experiences of being out in the cold and in the mud and putting things together. We know how to build buildings and so let’s bring that knowledge into the design phase to work with the architect who knows how to make things look pretty and design spaces.”

The new activity center will take a year to complete. It’s expected to be open to the public in December of 2018. On top of the new basketball courts and courts that can be used for pickle ball, the community will have a walking track above the court as well as new lounging space that can be utilized in between athletic events.
 

 

Contact

Oxford Park Commission

396 Price Street 
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 662-232-2379

Contact Us

Oxford Park Commission

396 Price Street 
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 662-232-2379

Copyright © 2021 Oxford Park Commission  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Log In