Now that the dream of a turf field seems dead, Thorold City Council is pledging $28,460 in upgrades to the baseball diamond at McMillan Park.
The money is part of a $100,000 package that will see upgrades to all baseball diamonds in Thorold.
“We’re really appreciative of what the council has approved for us,” says the president of Thorold Minor Baseball, Chris Green, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “This shows that they share the same vision as us and we want the best possible parks, upgraded for our families and for our players.”
Ahead of city budget deliberations earlier this month, Green sent a letter to City Hall suggesting possible upgrades, that range from fencing at Port Robinson East Park to lighting improvements at Sullivan Park.
According to calculations made by City Hall staff, the improvements would cost approximately $80,000, with $8,460 going to a batting cage, dugout fencing, and lighting at McMillan Park.
During a budget meeting last Wednesday, Councillor Henry D’Angela suggested rounding the total package up to $100,000.
“I’d put a little bit more money there just to make sure we build structures that are longstanding,” he said during the meeting. “I would make it $28,460 for McMillan Park and see what they can do in that budgetary allotment.”
Councillor Anthony Longo and Councillor Jim Handley voiced their support, but Councillor Ken Sentance shared concerns.
“My only question would be to the batting cage depending on the future of the park,” he said. “Can we build something that can be moved if need be? That would be my only request for anything we build.”
The concern wasn’t further discussed but with the monetary pledge, Thorold City Council seems to be giving a clear signal that a turf football field at McMillan Park won't be happening anytime soon.
In his letter, Green also asked for the installation of wifi at the baseball diamonds but this was not included in the budget so City Hall staff can do more research on the costs.
“The wifi helps us certainly during our tournaments as we’re doing the live updating of scores in the ballpark,” Green says. “When a number of our teams and staff spend long periods of time there, they need to update schedules and standings and results so this will all help.”
While Green is grateful for the investment in the future of Thorold Minor Baseball, he is still adamant that a new diamond will eventually have to be build.
“We will in the near future need to start a conversation about another diamond for players aged 9 to 13 — We know that’s where we’re growing the largest,” he says. “But this will certainly all help and it shows that council is behind what we’re doing and they support the baseball players in the community.”