A growing interest in Bonnyville Minor Ball has lead to a shortage in diamond availability.
The Town of Bonnyville heard the full scope of the challenges the organization is facing, during their regular council meeting on Tuesday, May 8.
“We went to the town and asked for land so that we can build some new diamonds,” explained Travis Farrer, president of Bonnyville Minor Ball.
Jim Church, competitive baseball director said this year, Bonnyville Minor Ball has over 300 players registered.
“That translates into 15 baseball teams and 10 softball teams,” he added.
With multiple mosquito teams sharing one baseball diamond, there is often scheduling conflicts.
The association has two mosquito AA teams, one peewee team, and one midget AA team. These teams often play on a provincial-level, and are planning on hosting the AAA peewee program in 2020.
When asked how they would fund the construction of two new baseball diamonds, Church said they have been saving up for the project, and have set aside $100,000 as a capital investment.
“That allows us to apply for these grants,” he added.
Since they already have their funding in place, all they need is the green light from council that they’re okay to get started.
The association is hoping to have the project wrapping up in time for their next season.
“We will get quotes from various components, the fencing, the dirt work, the grading, and see exactly what the cost will be, and then we will apply for the grants right away,” Church expressed. “We will want to try to have it seeded before winter so it’s ready to play on next year.”
The diamonds would be added to the existing space on the west side of Bonnyville.
Farrer said the addition is “going to generate some revenue,” because of their plans to host multiple tournaments.
But the spinoff is more than just bringing in revenue, it’s also creating a platform for young players in the community.
“Sports is for our youth. It appears positive and develops self-esteem, self-confidence, and increases community-minded individuals to get back to our community as adults,” said Farrer.
The non-profit organization were requesting council donate the land for the diamonds, as well as provide a letter of support for their grant applications.
“We appreciate town council and mayor’s support for the Bonnyville Minor Ball for proceeding with its project,” noted Church. “It’s a benefit to our children, grandchildren, and sports of baseball in general.”