By: Korie Marshall

The Village of McBride is still looking for photos of the ball field to help with some grant applications – photos of people using it and having fun, photos of the soggy infield and the deteriorating stands and dugouts – whatever you’ve got.

Though the field has been there for many years longer, Karen Dube from the Village office says the stands and dugouts at the Bill Clark Memorial Ball Diamond were built by volunteers about 15 years ago. That is about the life-time for many untreated-wood projects exposed to the elements, especially ones built sitting directly on the ground, and the Village has already had to remove one of the stands.

Various community organizations subsidize youth ball and t-ball in the summer at the only ball field in the village, and Dube says it is used almost daily. Groups often book the field for weekend tournaments, and the Village will often shut down the end of Main Street, because the home runs can go over the fence.

Dube says they already have plans already for the replacement stands and dugouts, and also hope to address the drainage problems in the infield in a second phase of the project.

“We have a drainage problem there, and we find there is often standing water on the infield, which is obviously a concern for safety, and just the pleasure of playing,” says Dube. She estimates it will cost about $30,000 to replace the stands and dugouts, and likely as much for the infield improvements, though she is waiting on more information from Public Works.

What she is looking for right now is funding. One of the opportunities she is looking at is the Blue Jays’ Field of Dreams program, which helps build safe places for youth to play baseball, spend time with their friends, develop life skills, and learn from positive role models. She is also looking at Northern Development Initiative Trust’s program for community halls and recreation facilities.

“One of the plans we have with the upgrade to the stands is to improve wheelchair access,” says Dube. The current plans have two covered wheelchair spots as well as concrete access from the road to the stands.

“It is well used, and we want to show that it is a popular spot for our young people,” says Dube.