Board approves proposed Buckingham County softball complex

Published 12:56 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

Softball players in Buckingham County will soon have a place close to home to practice their sport. At the Monday, July 10 Board of Supervisors meeting, the group voted unanimously to approve the special use permit for the proposed Buckingham County softball complex. 

During the scheduled public hearing, no one signed up to speak as many had spoken in support of the project at the June meeting. The board did receive four emails from supporters of the project, but they were not read out loud as Joe Chambers chose to have them committed to the minutes instead. Chambers serves as chairman of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors. 

“There isn’t much related to softball to do in this county,” Hannah Johnson, a Buckingham student and softball player told the board at their June meeting in support of her coach and owner of GRIT, Marci Lowrance. “Marci has taught me personally to be the best  I can be. She has helped me gain confidence in this sport so much. She has always been a help when I needed her. To me, this academy is more than just a place to train at, it’s a place I know I will grow every time I step in.”

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Only one question was brought forward by the board from Supervisor Danny Allen. On behalf of community members who posed the question to him, he asked if there was a separation between the cafeteria where the girls will train and other parts of the building. Lowrance confirmed there will be a separation.

The GRIT in GRIT Softball Academy stands for greatness, resilience, intelligence and tenacity. This academy is planned to be open from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and after church every other Sunday at the old Gold Hill Elementary School at 59 Gold Hill Elementary School Road. A fully turfed facility with batting cages and room for softball workouts will move into the old cafeteria. 

This plan was brought to the board by Lowrance, a Buckingham County native who grew up traveling over an hour each way to receive softball coaching. She has played the sport on multiple levels including winning all-district and all-region honors in high school before continuing at Longwood University and Charleston Southern. She has now moved back to the county after coaching at a charter school in South Carolina and hopes to bring GRIT Softball Academy to give the next generation of girls an opportunity she didn’t have. 

“One of my passions is to give back to the community that gave me a lot,” Lowrance said previously at the planning commission meeting. “They taught me a lot about softball, it’s where I found my love for it and I just feel there was nothing here as far as quality softball instruction to give the girls here.”