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Ball Diamonds volunteers install new bleachers as group closes in on end of project

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Volunteer labourers were onsite last week helping the local recreation group keep the costs of improvements to the site down. From left are: Todd Kropelin, Chris Stoiber, Paula Johnson (orange), Angie Berrey, Theresa Brown and Jamie Wilson of Sport Systems Canada. Photo by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

The Sandy Beach Ball Diamonds Committee are nearing completion of their ambitious vision for the local ballpark which began years ago.

Volunteers logged hours throughout last week in a big push to erect four large sets of bleachers that will for the first time, integrate the upper level of the recently constructed pavilion with the bleacher seating allowing free passage between them.

The use of volunteer labour saved the committee approximately $10,000 off the purchase price of the bleachers. The new bleachers increase seating at each of the four ball diamonds to a capacity of about 120.

“We have this stage to finish, then we have the cabinets, counter and sink upstairs, then we’ll be done what we’ve started,” said the Ball Diamonds Committee’s Angie Berrey. “We have just over $8,000 to raise yet and we’re almost there.

Now over $1 million into the project, Berrey says the city’s share when the project began years back was $168,000. She says their ongoing focus is to have the facility begin to return the community’s investment through attracting sports tourism dollars.

That should begin June 21-23 when the facility hosts the Molson-Coors Season Opener, a mixed slo-pitch tournament that will honour the brewing companies for their $75,000 donation to the Light Our Ball Diamonds Campaign approximately one year ago.

Berrey says the city has continued to maintain the grounds despite budget concerns.

“They (city) do kick in a little bit when we need some help leveling, things like that — but we’re trying not to cost them anymore money,” said Berrey.

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