Local diamonds to get a polish

John
John Browne
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St. Pat’s to be refurbished, more minor fields to be established

Plans to rejuvenate St. Pat’s Ball Park in St. John’s include a laying in a new field surface, new bleachers and, eventually, a new clubhouse. — Telegram file photo

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.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Amateur Baseball League Association.Breen, Recreation Centre, Toronto Blue Jays Foundation.Lights

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Ball Park, Canada Troy Wedgewood Park Greenwood

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Recent comments

  • Happily Retired
    January 03, 2013 - 10:32

    I had to chuckle at this article. It looks like the writer swallowed some political propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Maybe you'd like to check with some older volunteers in the minor system about the lack of support shown to minor baseball, as I'm sure the existing ones wouldn't want to vex city council. Minor baseball is indeed growing in the city, but no thanks to our elected representatives. There has been a shortage of facilities for minor baseball for some time now, and the city has given minor baseball an extremely low priority when compared to other sports. In fact, the only reason council is entertaining a new park at St. Pat's is because they are tearing down a perfectly serviceable lighted field at Wedgewood Park which minor baseball has been using. Why? Because they're going to build a $40 million swimming pool which will be under-utilized to replace the under-utilized swimming pool which already exists, all the while increasing our taxes. By the way, the new park at St. Pats will be smaller than the Wedgewood Park field, so only younger children will be able to play on it. I'm sure the new lights at Airport Heights will make people living in the west end extremely happy. So where is the big boost?

  • Doug
    January 03, 2013 - 10:32

    Should the city really be spending more than a million dollars on a facility that is used by 70-80 people a few nights a week for three months out of the year? The national tournament lasts little more than one weekend, hardly cause for doing a complete overhaul of St. Pat's on the taxpayer's dime. If the baseball crowd wants to upgrade their facilities, let them follow what the rugby people did on Crosbie Road and raise the money themselves.

    • JACK
      January 05, 2013 - 14:49

      Doug, just to give you the real numbers. Baseball is played at St Pats 7 nights a week. 6 senior baseball teams , 6 intermediate teams. Minor Baseball has 8. So that's around 200 to 300. The field is long over due to get work done on it. It promotes activity and a healthy lifestyle. As a tax payer I have no problem spending money on this, Its just not the city that will be putting money into this project.