Kennewick's Southridge Sports and Events Complex officially opens (w/ gallery)

Basketballs bounced, lacrosse teams geared up and families checked out the amenities of the new sports pavilion at Kennewick's Southridge Sports and Events Complex.

"Even though the sports pavilion has been open almost a month, we chose today to declare it officially open," Kennewick Mayor Steve Young told a crowd of 200 attending Thursday's ribbon-cutting.

The complex is home to four softball fields, two multiuse fields for soccer and lacrosse and plenty of picnic areas. It also includes a $3.2 million indoor practice facility suitable for field sports, soccer, pickleball and basketball year-round, regardless of the weather.

The entire complex sits on about 42 developed acres along Southridge Boulevard near Hildebrand Boulevard.

As the mayor, council members, parks and rec staff and other city employees prepared to cut the ribbon, Young invited children in the crowd to join them.

"After all, they are what this place is for," Young said.

He is looking forward to being able to drive by in future years "and see kids playing and families having fun together."

One of those families likely will be David and Shilo Morgan and their two children, Malea, 9, and David Jr., 6.

"Even though we live in Pasco, we'll definitely come and use this," David Morgan said. Nodding toward his daughter, he said, "She already plays basketball, and hopefully she'll get into baseball soon."

"And I want to play soccer too," she piped up.

"The playground is awesome," Shilo said. "It's not often you find a nice playground like this in the Tri-Cities."

In addition to the playground, the community play area includes a large splash pad for children and a gazebo for family gatherings.

Kennewick resident Enrique Rico also brought his two young children to the opening.

"It's impressive," he said. "We live close by and will probably be here a lot."

"I like playing basketball and softball," said his 10-year-old daughter, Andrea.

The complex has two meeting rooms, outdoor plaza areas and a concession stand, all available for rent by the hour. Rental prices for the fields range from $8 to $17 per hour, depending on the field and time of day.

The pavilion's public hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The facility is open for drop-in use by individuals for $2 an hour, or a team can rent an entire court for $39. All three courts cost $195 for two hours.

For more information about scheduling, call 585-4293 or 585-4299.

Find the latest informa-tion on the complex at www.playsouthridge.com.