The renovation of Nelson’s Queen Elizabeth Park is receiving a grant from The Toronto Blue Jays. Photo: Tyler Harper

Toronto Blue Jays award $117,000 to revitalize B.C. ballpark

Nelson was the only B.C. community to receive the grant

An old ballpark in Nelson is receiving some big league love.

The Toronto Blue Jays announced Friday that the Nelson Baseball Association is one of the recipients of its 12 Field Of Dreams grants this year.

The Jays are donating $117,000 to the ongoing restoration of Nelson’s Queen Elizabeth Park, which Nelson Baseball began a three-year overhaul of last October.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Nelson Baseball president Dwane Sorenson. “I haven’t seen one of those in the interior of B.C. yet. I just think it’s really cool to be recognized for the unique field that we have.

“It’s an amazing field and when it’s dressed up it’s gonna be I don’t think there’ll be anything better in the Kootenays.”

Nelson is the only B.C. community to receive this year’s grant. The $1.1 million investment is also being shared with communities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

A spokesperson for the Jays Care Foundation said Nelson Baseball’s application stood out for its vision and commitment to youth.

“This has been a challenging year for many, particularly children and youth. We are pleased that these grants will give them something to look forward to and the ability to reconnect with their peers through the game of baseball on their local diamonds,” said Jays Care executive director Robert Witchel in a statement.

The Jays Care Foundation said in its announcement it has committed nearly $7 million to 68 Canadian community infrastructure projects over the last five years.

“With this year’s recipients spanning from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, we are excited to continue a legacy of investing in community infrastructure across the country,” said Witchel.

Queen Elizabeth Field, which was named in 1953 to commemorate the queen’s coronation, had been in dire need of renovations for years prior to the start of the current work.

A new warning track, foul poles, outfield fence and backstop netting have already been installed, and construction is underway on a rebuilt infield and dugouts as well as batting cages.

Nelson Baseball also plans to install new bleachers, resurface the old ones, place new sod, add an equipment building and a new digital scoreboard.

The organization has received $321,200 to complete the project, which also includes: $56,500 has come from in-kind contributions; $51,000 from the Regional District of Central Kootenay; $32,500 from cash donations; $27,500 from Columbia Basin Trust, $20,000 from the City of Nelson, $13,700 from BC Tire Stewardship and $3,000 from Kal Tire.

The donation from Canada’s only major league team was good news for Nelson Baseball, which had to scrap its little league season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Sorenson credited Nelson Baseball treasurer Jim Sevigny for his fundraising efforts in making the dream of a new ballpark come true.

“Jim’s put a lot of work into it,” said Sorenson. “I mean, he’s driven the project. It wouldn’t happen without him.”

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Baseball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Saanich’s autumn full-moon lantern celebration shifts to drive-thru

Harvest Moon event takes place Sept. 26 in Gordon Head

Victoria police seek suspect in parkade break and enter

Cycling gear, tools reported stolen from vehicle, storage locker

Greater Victoria man sentenced to four and a half years for sexually abusing foster daughter

Abuse took place over a three year period while victim was between the ages of 13 to 15

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lumber hitting record high prices due to low supply and high demand

B.C.’s forest industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the COVID-19 building boom

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Most Read