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

Four-storey Oak Bay Avenue development to have rooftop garden

Redfern 35-unit development sent to public hearing

Victoria gets new collegiate baseball team, training facility

Golden Tide coach wants to see as many local kids play for the HarbourCats as possible

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read