Minor baseball in St. John’s and Mount Pearl are in for a big boost with new and upgraded facilities and there are also major plans for the refurbishing of St. Pat’s Ball Park over the next few years with an eye on the 2014 senior nationals and 2021 Canada Summer Games.
St. John’s city councillor Danny Breen indicated Wednesday night that there is both a “short- and long-term concept plan to rejuvenate St. Pat’s Ball Park,” for the St. John’s Amateur Baseball League Association.
Breen said he’s met with the association’s representatives (Troy Croft, Mark Healy and Bernie Davis) to discuss what’s needed in order for St. John’s to host the 2014 senior national baseball championship, adding there are also ongoing discussions “to see what we need to do in a longer time frame.”
Plans call for St. Pat’s, which was completely upgraded for the 1977 Summer Games, to be refurbished with a new field surface. This is “an immediate concern,” said Breen.
The St. John’s councillor also indicated new bleachers are on order for St. Pat’s and that they will be place this summer. Work on upgrading the infield will also take place this year. There are also plans to upgrade the clubhouse for the 2014 Canadian championship.
“Plus,” noted Breen, “we plan to bid for the 2021 Canada Summer Games,” which will mean even more upgrading work.
Breen said about $25,000 has been allocated for the “concept plan” for the facility which will identify all that needs to be done.
“We’ll need to go back to council for funding depending on what comes out of the plan,” said Breen.
Meanwhile, a new, lighted minor baseball field will be built on the current soccer field at St. Pat’s for cost of about 250,000.
“This,” noted Breen, “will replace the facility at Wedgewood Park, which will be taken out of service to make way for the new Recreation Centre on that site.”
Breen also said Airport Heights Field will be upgraded in a cost-shared project, with matching funds from local minor baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays Foundation.
Lights will be installed and there will also be an extension to the field which had been used for softball.
“Minor baseball is growing,” said Breen, “and there’s been a need for new fields due to the participation numbers.”
“We all agree we’d like to develop some kind of a baseball complex at St. Pat’s for minor and adult participants.”
In the meantime, The City of Mount Pearl has approved about $800,000 for construction of a new peewee-size lighted facility between St. Peter’s Junior High and Newtown Elementary off Munden Drive.
As well, money has been budgeted to upgrade the Greenwood Field in the same area.
“The upgrade will allow us to accommodate divisions up to mosquito on the Greenwood facility,” said Mount Pearl minor baseball president Brian Hunt. “We have been working for three years on this with the city.”
Hunt said the facilities, when completed, will satisfy the association’s needs for the “forseeable future.”
Mount Pearl currently has almost 400 participants from four to 18 years of age.
Hunt is “hoping” the facilities will be up and running for this summer.