Ac­ces­si­ble ball field in Antigo­nish com­ing closer to con­struc­tion

The Casket - - Sports - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­ket.ca

Con­sid­er­ing they started with zero dol­lars on the first of April, the fact the group be­hind the ac­ces­si­ble ball field project in Antigo­nish has closed to within $98,000 of its $475,000 goal, as of Sept. 26, is quite re­mark­able.

“We’re very pleased,” Randy Crouse, co-or­di­na­tor of Antigo­nish Chal­lenger Base­ball as well as the pro­vin­cial and na­tional bod­ies of the sport, said. “Our goal is $475,000 and we’re at $377,000.

“We’re hop­ing, this fall, we’ll put out the ten­der and then fig­ure out a sched­ule to build — weather de­pen­dent. The ideal goal is, still, to have it ready for next sum­mer. Ob­vi­ously, we’re op­ti­mistic but we’re very ex­cited we’re so close to our goal.”

Crouse noted the $475,000 goal in­cludes some money for con­tin­gency pur­poses, in case there is an un­fore­seen prob­lem.

“Money avail­able so we’re not stop­ping [the work],” he said.

To close the gap fur­ther, the group has put to­gether a ‘do­na­tion re­quest pack­age’ which they’re about to dis­trib­ute to busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions in the com­mu­nity. The pack­age out­lines dif­fer­ent lev­els of sup­port and how those con­tri­bu­tions can be rec­og­nized at the ball field, which is be­side Cen­tral Sport Field and Dr. J.H. Gil­lis Re­gional School, in terms of spon­sor­ship sig­nage.

The wide-range of lev­els in­clude the nam­ing rights for the whole field right down to a busi­ness or per­son be­ing in­cluded on a list posted at the field.

“We’re try­ing to in­cor­po­rate ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity who would like to help us out; a $100 con­tri­bu­tion all the way to the top end nam­ing rights for the whole field,” Crouse said.

“We know Antigo­nish folks are fan­tas­tic for help­ing the com­mu­nity and we also know that they’re asked a lot to do so,” he added. “So we’re do­ing our best to say, this is what we can of­fer you as a thank you for your do­na­tion.”

He noted while the em­pha­sis of the field will be its ac­ces­si­bil­ity as­pects, it will be a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity to be used by all.

“A com­mu­nity field, not just Chal­lenger Base­ball but mi­nor base­ball, mi­nor soft­ball, the schools will be us­ing it, peo­ple play­ing whif­fle ball down there, throw­ing the foot­ball around; we’re hop­ing the whole com­mu­nity gets use out of it,” Crouse said.

$68,000 con­tri­bu­tion

The project re­ceived a big shot in the arm re­cently with the Antigo­nish Town and County Re­cre­ation As­so­ci­a­tion pre­sent­ing or­ga­niz­ers with a check for a lit­tle more than $68,000.

“This rep­re­sents the re­main­ing funds raised by the field project and we couldn’t be hap­pier to see it help Chal­lenger Base­ball reach their goal,” Scott Mackin­non, pres­i­dent of the as­so­ci­a­tion, said.

“Randy and all the vol­un­teers have done an amaz­ing job of putting Chal­lenger Base­ball on the lo­cal, pro­vin­cial and na­tional stage, and we hope this con­tri­bu­tion al­lows them to reach more chil­dren and help more fam­i­lies.”

The ac­ces­si­ble ball field project is a com­bined ef­fort by Antigo­nish Chal­lenger Base­ball, Antigo­nish Base­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, Antigo­nish Mi­nor Soft­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and the Town of Antigo­nish re­cre­ation depart­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the project and/or to pro­vide a do­na­tion, con­tact Crouse at randy.crouse@hot­mail.com, or by phone at 902-867-6218 (home) or 902-318-0707 (cell).

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