Click here for Facility Calendar
The effort to renovate Rocket Field is nearing completion. On August 16, 2023, the Council approved an agreement with The Yard @ Wire Park, LLC to perform field maintenance and be the point of contact and in charge of scheduling events at Rocket Field. Fees have been established for those who wish to reserve the facilities at Rocket Field. For rental information, rules and regulations, click here. For Fee Schedule, click here. Facilities not being utilized for programs or reserved by outside groups are on a first come/first serve basis for the public.
Rocket Field came into existence in the late 1950's or early 1960's when a group of local parents started a football program and a basketball program for their young boys. That is how the field became known as "Rocket." Prior to that, the field was part of the old Oconee County High School which only had an organized basketball program for boys and girls, but no baseball or softball. The field at that time was a multi-purpose field. The only baseball played on the field was by teams of adults, quasi semiprofessional teams from Watkinsville, Bishop, Farmington, Whitehall, etc. These teams played games on the high school field usually on Saturday afternoon and with a 25-cent admission charge. In the 1990's, Rocket Field was gifted to the City of Watkinsville by the Oconee County Board of Education when they also deeded the old high school gym (i.e.: the 1902 high school building) and the former vocational building to the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation.
Rocket Field is located at 34 School Street in downtown Watkinsville GA. It is a City owned property that is maintained by Oconee Little League. All restrooms and buildings at this location remain locked due to vandalism and are not intended for public use except during events.
Rocket Field is the site of the annual Oconee County Fall Festival held in October. It is also used as parking for OCAF (Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation) and the annual Christmas Parade.
Rocket Field Reimagined & Revitalized
At its July 13, 2022 meeting, Watkinsville City Council announced preliminary plans to revitalize Rocket Field in a significant public-private partnership. On August 2 and 9, 2022, the Council held public input meetings to discuss and obtain feedback on the proposed plans. Based on these public comments, the initial plans were revised. The Council approved the final site improvement plan (see plan below) at its October 19, 2022 meeting and entered into a construction lease with Value Added Concepts, LLC to construct the improvements.
The final plan calls for a refurbished ballfield using artificial turf in the infield and sod for the remaining greenspace, new scorer’s box/concession stand/restroom facilities, built-in bleachers, a dedicated dog park, sidewalk on Second Street, a stage/bandstand, petanque courts, new LED field lighting, scoreboard, and a net climber located in the flexible greenspace. The field will still be able to accommodate the Fall Festival, and the city will continue to partner with Little League and other area teams to ensure maintenance and shared utilization of the field.
Please note: While the field is under construction, it is closed to the public, and should not be accessed for any purpose without permission from the city.
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact City Manager, Sharyn Dickerson via email at email@example.com or by phone at 706-769-5161.
The below are renderings that show many of the proposed improvements but may include some elements which have been removed or relocated on the site.
Rocket Field Revitalized
A Generational Opportunity
A hub for Watkinsville for nearly 100 years, Rocket Field has served many purposes for decades. In its earliest years, it was a multifunctional space for the adjacent Watkinsville High School and associated buildings, hosting a variety of sports events, but primarily baseball games. Old photos show baseball fans gathered at the southeastern corner of the park watching locals play ball. When Watkinsville High School closed and was consolidated to Oconee County High School, the field no longer hosted official school baseball games.
In the intervening 40+ years, the field evolved to serve many community needs. On many spring and summer nights, it still hosts little league ball games. On quieter evenings, local residents and their dogs gather, enjoying the wide open spaces of the field. Many weekends each year, the field serves as overflow parking for shows and events at the Oconee Cultural Arts Festival. And every October, thousands travel from near and far to Watkinsville to buy and sell custom made wares and great food at the Watkinsville Fall Festival, approaching its 50th anniversary.
While Rocket Field has served the city and county well, the sad reality is that this mix of uses has diminished its ability to serve any one of its user groups particularly well. A lack of capital investment due to unclear plans have kept the field in a holding pattern, even as neighbors and visitors clamor over its unfulfilled potential as a ballfield, gathering space, and hub for activities. Its restrooms are aging and nasty, its concession stand hasn’t been used in decades, the lights are dated, drainage is a challenge, and the field has the minimum electric capacity necessary to host the Fall Festival.
In 2022, the city has a unique opportunity to re-imagine Rocket Field. With a mix of support from city SPLOST funds, a significant private donor and other community organizations, the city has the opportunity to update and upgrade the ballfield to a full size softball and little league field, returning home plate to its historic location in the Southeast corner of the park. This adjustment in the field’s orientation allows new spaces to be captured in the western and northern ends of the park, with removable fencing being installed to create separate, safe spaces for dogs, families, and ballplayers while still allowing open spaces for the fall festival and parking, when necessary. New lights, electric, drainage and grass will be installed, along with concrete bleachers where the small hill just west of the field sits now, allowing visitors to sit while observing a game. New dugouts will be installed, along with a scorer’s hut, new restrooms, and a modern concession stand. These changes will allow Rocket Field to host small tournaments and games while better serving the youth of our community for practices. A gazebo or shelter of some sort is anticipated at another corner of the field for families or others to use while kids and dogs play, with water stations and -- budget allowing -- some potential other amenities for furry friends and our youngest citizens as well.
- July 13: Preliminary Plans shared at City Council Meeting
- August 2 and August 9, 6 p.m.: Watkinsville City Council will host two public input meetings on proposed plans at City Hall
- August: Plans refined based on public input; further discussion at August City Council meeting
- September: Plans presented and approved by City Council; legal agreements finalized with donor and partners
- October: If plans are approved and legal documents finalized, construction begins after the Oconee County Fall Festival (Oct. 15)
- Spring 2023: Updated Field Available to Public and available for the 49th Oconee County Fall Festival
Rocket Field Reimagined - Key Facts
Size and Location:
2.5 acres just off Main Street in Downtown Watkinsville, surrounded by the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, historic Rocket Hall, historic homes, and offices for the Oconee County Board of Education.
Little league baseball, softball, dog park, parking for festivals, hub for Oconee County Fall Festival. The ballfield is located in the middle of the space, creating an inefficient use of the field.
Relocates home plate to the southeastern corner of the park, allowing dedicated spaces for a smaller but dedicated dog park and potential flexible open space and other programming based on community input. With the proposed plan, the reimagined Rocket Field will include a ballfield with 200 foot outfield dimensions as well as nearly ¾ of an acre for other uses.
Once home to the Watkinsville High School Rockets baseball team, the field has had a variety of uses since, including baseball, softball, general greenspace, special events, parking, festivals and an unofficial dog park.
The majority of the costs will be contributed by a private donor, Oconee County resident Kelly Mahoney. The city will work with Mr. Mahoney through a lease arrangement to allow much of the site work to be done at the donor’s cost, similar to its approach on the Miracle League project. The city estimates the total cost at more than $750,000 most of which will be offset by contributions from Mr. Mahoney. The city will be responsible for the secondary structure on site, new street trees on the northern side of the park, plan review fees, and new lighting structures. Mr. Mahoney has agreed to cover the rest of the costs, including all infrastructure, building, fences, etc. Funds may be raised for a potential new scoreboard for the field.
Kelly Mahoney, although the city is hopeful other organizations will support the renovation by helping to offset costs for lights and a new scoreboard.
New ballfield, dugouts, permanent concrete bleachers with shade structures, scorer’s booth, concessions, new electrical wiring, drainage, restrooms, lights and storage. Plans also call for a new sidewalk on the eastern side of the field, new fencing as necessary, and updated gates and entrances for vehicles. Additionally, depending on public feedback, the City may add dog specific amenities for the portion of the park that will be open to dogs, or a small play structure for children.
Currently the city works with Oconee County Little League to use the field, whereby Little League maintains the field. The city anticipates working with Little League and other users of the field on maintenance in the future.