Another piece of Visalia’s rich history came into place as Riverway Sports Park celebrated the grand opening and dedication of phase III on November 9, 2013.
Riverway Sports Park is located at 3611 N. Dinuba Blvd. The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the event running until 2 p.m. River Way Sports Park, first opened in 2007, attracts community members and out-of-towners alike for sports tournaments, parties, picnics, and special events. Now with a brand new eight-acres developed, the park adds a new list of amenities to its offerings as the grand opening day was celebrated.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to showcase concerts in the park, have a new home for our Movies in the Park program, and now have the space to host farmers markets, information fairs and those types of things,” said Vince Elizondo, Director, City of Visalia Parks & Recreation Department.
One of the city’s most popular parks, the grand opening and dedication opened a new chapter for Riverway Sports Park. Phase II, which originally opened in 2010, featured the CR Shannon Baseball Complex. Now Phase III opens a special events promenade, large covered arbor, additional landscaping, playground, Saputo Sports Field, restroom facility and open grass area for seating under the beautiful, open sky.
Kicked off with the ribbon cutting and dedication of Phase III at 10:30 a.m., the day included a special moment for local athletes who were inducted into the Pillars of Fame.
Honoring Visalia’s sports tradition, the Pillars of Fame is a “Hall of Fame” type monument that honors exceptional local athletes who competed in the top levels of their sport.
Inductees included Tonya Mendonca, nationally ranked high jumper, Mark McKay, former player for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, Brooke LeAnn Crain, BMX Olympian at the 2012 London Games and John Bynum Jr., professional basketball player in Europe.
“Every three years or so we reach out to the community for submissions on individuals for the Pillars of Fame,” Elizondo said. “The four athletes that were inducted join a group that showcases Visalia’s strength in athletics and sportsmanship.”
After the ceremony at noon, the special events promenade hosted the final show of the popular Concerts in the Park series, as local band Willow Station rocked the promenade stage area with 1970s and 1980s classic rock.
The promenade invited community members to take their first stroll down its lane, as community booths featured information, vendors and food booths. On the open grass area, bounce houses and activities were open to children, as the department mascot Parky visited with guests of all ages.
“The park serves Visalia and is part of our economic driver as it brings people from outside the area that stay and eat locally,” Elizondo said. “Opening Phase III brings a new level of possibility and thing that’s something we like to see.”