Crenshaw communities create family friendly facilities

Published 9:37 pm Saturday, February 4, 2023

Rural communities boast amenities which attract residents — ready access to nature’s beauty, neighbors who feel like family, small towns where everyone knows everyone.

But the tradeoff from urban dwelling to rural life has its drawbacks, often found in the lack of places and spaces to enjoy good, clean family fun.

In Crenshaw County, some residents have taken the initiative to create spaces where families can gather for food, fun, and fellowship.

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Southridge Winery offers one such avenue for recreation. Tonya and Matthew Pippin opened the winery near Luverne, not only out of their love for wine making, but as a place to foster community gatherings.

Community members who visit the winery enjoy cookie decorating classes, hat making events, and Saturday markets featuring local vendors.

Even the area’s youngest members can find something to enjoy there, and all ages appreciate the creative opportunities they say are hard to find in rural communities.

At the top end of Crenshaw County just north of Highland Home, TJ and Sonya Moseley opened 334 Cornhole for all the same reasons.

TJ, an avid cornhole player, looked for spaces to play and built the facility so he and Sonya could enjoy the popular lawn game in a safe, family friendly environment.

Whole families come out to compete and possibly win a cash prize. And while children play inside the facility or outside with the Moseley family dogs, their parents appreciate knowing there is a place close to home where they can gather for fun with friends.

In the 1980s, local softball fields provided the same sort of family recreation. As a young mother, I gathered with friends to watch our children play down at Ronald’s Field.

In later years, we took our kids for bowling and pizza in Luverne. A decade or so earlier, our parents took us swimming at Bodiford’s Pool.

Family friendly recreation facilities are important to communities. In rural areas, like Crenshaw County, where populations are less dense than in urban cities, residents often take it upon themselves to build places and spaces to have good, clean fun.

Bodiford’s Pool has long since closed, as has the bowling alley, and Ronald’s Field, But communities can ensure there are still places to gather by supporting the new ventures established to bring their communities closer together.