Syd­ney now able to host cham­pi­onships

Im­prove­ments made to field

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­post.com

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is al­most ready to is­sue the ten­der for im­prove­ments to the Su­san McEach­ern Me­mo­rial Ball Park that could en­able it to host a na­tional cham­pi­onship.

In the 2015-16 cap­i­tal bud­get it passed ear­lier this year, the CBRM al­lo­cated $230,000 for the im­prove­ments to the south end Syd­ney ball­field. The At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency has pro­vided a grant of $385,700 to the pro­ject. The pro­ject has also re­ceived $100,000 in fund­ing from the province, through the Ac­tive Liv­ing branch of the Depart­ment of Health and Well­ness.

The to­tal cost of the ren­o­va­tion pro­ject is ex­pected to be about $750,000.

“Fund­ing has all been con­firmed, we’re ac­tu­ally in the fi­nal stages of do­ing the ten­der specs, we’re prob­a­bly about two weeks away from go­ing to the pa­per for public ten­der,” said Bill Mur­phy, the CBRM’s man­ager of parks, grounds and build­ings.

Plan­ning for the pro­ject has been un­der­way for more than a year. Mur­phy said it feels good to fi­nally be in the fi­nal stages of pre­par­ing for the work to pro­ceed.

“A pro­ject like this that’s larger, there’s al­ways some chal­lenges and ins and outs of mak­ing sure ev­ery­body com­mu­ni­cates and all the things are lined up prop­erly,” he said.

The work will in­clude the re­con­struc­tion of the en­tire play­ing sur­face, both in­field and out­field, with a syn­thetic all-weather sur­face on the in­field and a nat­u­ral drained out­field. There will also be new fenc­ing, sup­port perime­ters, dugouts and VIP seat­ing.

“Ob­vi­ously the in­tent is to have the ca­pac­ity to host na­tional-level base­ball cham­pi­onships,” Mur­phy said.

It’s ex­pected that the work could be­gin the sec­ond week of Septem­ber. A pre­cise con­struc­tion sched­ule is not yet avail­able, so Mur­phy couldn’t say defini­tively when it’s ex­pected to wrap up.

“If we run out of time for the out­field por­tion, then it would be com­pleted in the spring, but we an­tic­i­pate it will be hope­fully about an eight to 10 week con­struc­tion sched­ule,” he said. “We’re hop­ing if the weather co­op­er­ates, it will be all done in the fall.”

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