Prince Albert city council has approved a plan in principal to renovate the Crescent Acres Ball Diamonds to meet Baseball Saskatchewan standards for U15 play.
The City plans to partner with the Prince Albert Minor Baseball Association to make the upgrades happen. Prince Albert’s community services director, Jody Boulet, said they already have a general idea of what they want to do with the diamonds, but emphasized some aspects of the plan may change.
“We’re just trying to do our best here in the initial stages to show how this could look as we get out of the gate,” Boulet told council during a meeting on April 19. “There are some, I think, early wins, and some opportunities that could be done in the first phase, and then there are some more long-term solutions that we would like to see at the complex.”
Boulet said the renovations would allow the City to host tournaments and provincial championships in all age categories, and meet increasing demand for Baseball Saskatchewan’s Rally Cap program for the U15 age group. He also said it would help maximize usage of the location, which is already close to outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts and a spray park.
The first phase of the project would see pitching mounds and new shale installed, improvements to the player benches and spectator seating areas, repairing fences, and adding additional storage capacity.
Long-term plans include installing lighting, a scorekeeper’s booth and a scoreboard at a the feature diamond, with the goal of adding lighting and scoreboards at all three diamonds down the road.
Prince Albert Minor Baseball would receive priority scheduling at the renovated diamonds. They’re board has already given approval to proceed with the concept plan.
“We are very excited to move this into the next stage, and develop a formal package for council,” Boulet said.
Mayor Greg Dionne said the area could become a new hub for baseball in Prince Albert, and thanked the minor ball association for stepping forward to help make it happen.
“If you look at that area, it’s already got washrooms there, it’s got a concession, it’s almost got everything you need except for the diamonds, and they can always be fixed,” Dionne said during the meeting. “That’s what I like about it. We go into this area, it’s a great opportunity to develop it and be a home for baseball.”
The Crescent Acres Diamonds are located in Ward 6, on the eastern edge of Prince Albert. The City will need approval from the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division to begin work on the site, since Vickers School sits adjacent to it. City administrators have already been in contact with the school division to outline the approval requirements, according to a report included in the meeting agenda package.
Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards, who represents the ward the diamonds sit in, said the renovations are a great opportunity for Prince Albert, especially since they supported the decision to convert the former Lew Hobson Field as part of Project Triple Play.
“I think this is a win for baseball. I think it’s a win for our kids in the community, most importantly, and for the City,” Edwards said during the meeting.
“This is a win for everybody, so we can move forward.”
The only concerns about the project came from Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick. Ogrnodick voted in favour of the proposal, and said he likes the idea of renovating the diamonds. However, he was concerned it would see it drop other projects, like a new off-leash dog park, down the City’s list of priorities.
He said the dog park was identified by Prince Albert residents as their biggest priority in the master plan survey, while baseball facilities were tied for 13th.
Boulet said partnerships like the one they have with Prince Albert Minor Baseball, can move a project up or down the list of priorities. However, he also said that partnership would ensure there were still funds for those other projects.
“This opportunity is one of those examples that isn’t going to displace any other priority,” he said.
Boulet added that the department will bring their final plans back to council for further approval.