Monday, 28 October 2013 08:51

Brooks' Quad ball diamond complex ready for use August 2014

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Brooks' Quad ball diamond complex ready for use August 2014 Photo submitted

Work continues on the $3.35-million Quad ball diamond complex in the City of Brooks, as officials head for a grand opening in August of 2014.


Most of the exterior landscaping is done and the outer walls of the building are being erected at the facility at 17th St. and 2nd Ave. S.E.
The idea for building a new ball complex has been in the works for a decade. In 2005, it was meant to be part of a regional athletic park that would include ball diamonds, a football field and outdoor ice rinks in the same location as the current facility, says Russ Tanner, manager of recreation and facility services for the City of Brooks.
Some of the money for that park has now been spent in other locations, so the project moved forward as just a ball facility in the 2010 master recreation plan. Originally, work was to start in 2012, but funding wasn’t in place so the ground breaking took place this past April.
“Baseball is very popular and we do have a large slow-pitch league,” says Tanner, about the need for more ball diamonds in the city. “Support at the minor level is also growing. A facility like this spearheads that more.”
There has also been talk the past few years of the creation of a Canadian Legion division for baseball, which would be similar to its American Legion counterpart.
“Also, the local adult group for slow-pitch has been wanting to host some large tournaments. The economic spinoff from that is quite large with hotels and restaurants benefitting.”
The new complex features four ball diamonds. The northeast one is for hard ball while the other three are for softball. Both north diamonds will have lighting, so games can take place at night.
The facility will feature a playground in the centre of the diamonds covered by a large net to protect children from stray balls. A building will house a concession, changerooms, washrooms and equipment storage. Walking trails will allow individuals to enjoy the facility even more.
The complex is truly a regional facility with the County of Newell providing $400,000 in funding, the City of Brooks $2.2 million through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and $150,000 in an athletic park reserve. Fundraising has earned an additional $600,000, thanks to the hard work of the Brooks Regional Ball Park Association and especially its president Jason Thomasen.
“They’ve done an amazing job,” adds Tanner, about the fundraising which came in at more than was expected. “Obviously, there is a feeling in the community that this is a need.”
Fundraising was also helped out by some large donations. Each diamond has been named after donors who gave $100,000 each. Those donors included the Elks Club, the Eastern Irrigation District, Cenovus Energy and Smith Group Holdings. The Kinsmen donated the money for the playground.
The fact the community has supported the project means some “wants” could be added to the complex including lighting the second ball diamond.
The intent was to light only one diamond and wire in the other.
“Had fundraising not gone as well as it did, the building likely would have been a little smaller and the second ball diamond would not have been lit,” added Tanner.
Work still to be done in the spring will include installing the playground, finishing the fencing, installing bleachers and interior landscaping. Officials want the sod to get a good foothold in the spring and early summer with the intent of the complex being ready for use by the beginning of August.
The Brooks Regional Ball Park Association will also likely have some more work to do moving forward such as finding sponsorship for building batting cages and erecting score clocks.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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