Lights will change Up­per Is­land Cove

Up­per Is­land Cove ball field light in­stal­la­tion be­gins

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Work­ers will be in­stalling new lights over the next lit­tle while at the base­ball field in Up­per Is­land Cove. A project in the mak­ing for a num­ber of years, the op­por­tu­ni­ties the equip­ment will cre­ate for grow­ing the sport and ex­tend­ing games has local sports en­thu­si­asts ex­cited.

The ball­park in Up­per Is­land Cove is in the midst of some pretty big up­grades.

Mount Pearl-based HJ Bartlett Elec­tri­cal is busy putting in the frame­work that will be­come a set of lights for the field lo­cated on Crane’s Road.

The elec­tri­cal por­tion of the work has been com­pleted and the rest of the job has quickly started tak­ing shape.

While heavy equip­ment moves dirt and digs holes, more than half a dozen steel poles sit just feet away from their home in the ground around the field’s fenc­ing.

“It’s fi­nally be­com­ing a reality,” said Up­per Is­land Cove Mayor Ge­orge Adams when con­tacted by The Com­pass last week.

It’s a big step for the area and adds the Is­land Cove field to the list of fa­cil­i­ties with lights in Con­cep­tion Bay North. It now joins parks in Bay Roberts and Car­bon­ear.

The idea be­hind in­stalling lights at the re­cre­ation com- plex has been on­go­ing since 2014. That’s when then-min­is­ter of public works Steve Kent first an­nounced the fund­ing to put in the sys­tem. That ef­fort was re­buffed when Paul Davis threw in ad­di­tional govern­ment funds last year.

Pri­mar­ily, the field is used for base­ball and por­tions of the town’s sum­mer re­cre­ation pro­gram. It’s also the home of the town’s fire­works dis­play and hosts the oc­ca­sional soft­ball game.

Now, it opens up other av­enues for the town to ex­plore when it comes to recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties.

There are al­ready plans to in­stall a walk­ing track around the pe­riph­ery of the field. “It’s go­ing to be great for all res­i­dents,” said Adams.

Round­ing out the pro­gram

Having the abil­ity to put off games and prac­tices at night means big things for the CBN Bull­dogs base­ball pro­gram. It means not having to cut games short as day be­comes night and opens up more hours for play­ing base­ball.

“Having the lights on the field in­creases our abil­ity to put off a bet­ter pro­gram,” said Base­ball CBN pres­i­dent Neil Shute. “When we’re host­ing tour­na­ments and games, it’s a boost to our kids.”

Base­ball CBN is a re­gional pro­gram that op­er­ates out of three fields — Har­bour Grace, Span- iard’s Bay and Up­per Is­land Cove — in Con­cep­tion Bay North.

There’s an in­her­ent magic that comes when base­ball is played at night. It’s a game meant to be played un­der the cover of dark­ness.

The pres­i­dent men­tioned there is a plan to en­sure ev­ery ath­lete in the pro­gram gets a game un­der the lights this sum­mer.

The Bull­dogs Clas­sic base­ball tour­na­ment is one event that will surely take full ad­van­tage of the lights when their in­stalled.

“It cer­tainly gives the game that big league feel, es­pe­cially for the younger kids,” said Shute. “It’s pos­i­tive steps go­ing for­ward.”

It cer­tainly gives the game that big league feel, es­pe­cially for the younger kids. Neil Shute

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Ban­tam league games like this one from Ban­tam AAA pro­vin­cial in Up­per Is­land Cove last sea­son could be played in the evening this sum­mer.

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