Sports

Eyes on the Ball, and the Ads, at Roxbury's New Softball Park

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Roxbury's new Landing Park softball complex
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ROXBURY, NJ – If you build it, they will come. And look at the signs.

That’s the hope the Roxbury Rebels girls travel softball organization as it prepares to use the new Landing Park softball field complex. The 16-acre, $3.5 million park on Landing Road is expected to draw big crowds of players, parents and spectators and that should make it a good place for local businesses to advertise, said Rebels president Ryan Donnelly.

The goal is to get local companies to buy signs that would be placed on the fences surrounding the park’s three softball fields. Money raised by the effort would go toward offsetting the Rebels’ costs, said Donnelly.

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“It’s kind of a fundraiser,” he said, noting the Rebels did the same thing at Nalron Field on Emmans Road in Ledgewood, the team’s former home turf. “It helps lower the out-of-pocket expenses for each kid and each parent.”

Similar signs are placed along the fences at the Righter Road baseball field each year, noted Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall. “We do this elsewhere in town, so it’s not setting a precedent,” he said. “Righter Road is the perfect example … There’s just a ton of signs there and it helps the kids. It’s pretty much a positive thing.”

When Landing Park was opened in October, Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee called it one of “two crown jewels in Roxbury Township,” the other being Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna. Hall acknowledged that some people might not like the idea of signs at the new park.

“The criticism could be the aesthetics” he conceded. “The thing you have to be careful of is whether it becomes an eyesore at some point.”

Rilee didn’t want to immediately offer an opinion about the plan, which would need approval from the township. “I think that, if it’s limited in scope, it can be OK,” said the mayor. “I’d like to see the proposal first. What I don’t want it to turn into is a year-round … advertising thing.”

Donnelly said the signs, as he envisions them, would not be facing motorists (as they do at the Righter Road field). “It would be facing the infield and it would be on all three fields,” he said. “This is not going  to be an eyesore. The fields are down from the road. It’s not like you’re going to be driving past and there is going to be all this signage in your face.”

On the other hand, businesses who sign up will likely get their name seen extensively. Roxbury officials and Donnelly expect the park to be a haven for softball tournaments, drawing teams from far afield.

“The fields are going to be used a lot,” said Donnelly. He noted that this year’s Morris County high school girls championship game is slated to be at Landing Park, and a men’s league will also be playing at the site regularly.

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