South Peace News
The Falher baseball diamonds are set to get a facelift thanks to a hard-working group of volunteers determined to improve recreational opportunities in the Smoky River Region.
Falher and Area Beautification and Leisure Activities Society (FABULAS) has been pooling resources, applying for grants, and seeking donations to upgrade the town’s two baseball diamonds.
“The ball diamonds are currently not regulation size so we can’t host a home-run derby,” says FABULAS president Chantelle Hampton. “The outfields are in rough shape, so it’s almost a safety hazard to be out there.”
Hampton explains it has been many years since the baseball diamonds have seen any improvements, and the FABULAS team thought it was a great opportunity to put their efforts into helping the town improve its facility.
The baseball field currently features two diamonds, both which are set to get overhauled in the long term, but only one diamond will be improved next year. Improvements will include replacing fencing and rectifying drainage issues that are the root cause of standing water issues.
“We have plans to reposition both diamonds so we can eventually put a third diamond in,” says Hampton, noting that the cost to overhaul each diamond will be high and the project will have to be done in stages.”
Hampton says the diamonds will be repositioned to improve the usability for future tournaments. The diamonds will receive a major upgrade, but it will have to happen in staged phases because the cost will make it prohibitive to complete in one year. She says a neighbouring community just completed the upgrade of the baseball diamonds and it cost the municipality approximately $600,000.
“We haven’t got quotes since 2018, so we’re trying to get new quotes to see what it will all entail,” she says. “We are anticipating about $250,000 for the first diamond’s repairs and restructuring.”
She says many local contractors, professionals and labourers have volunteered to donate a lot their time and equipment, making the project more easily achievable.
Hampton says the committee is targeting project commencement early next spring, with some groundwork potentially starting this fall.
FABULAS applied for the Community Facility Enhancement Program grant, successfully being rewarded $15,000 as a matching grant to utilize for diamond improvements. The team also supported a Beef and Booze fundraiser held by Smoky River Minor Ball earlier this year, selling raffle tickets to accumulate funds for renovations. Their efforts helped them raise an additional $12,000.
She says multiple local groups are collaborating to see the ball diamonds restored including, Smoky River Minor Ball, Falher’s Ball Diamond Restoration Committee, FABULAS and many community members and businesses. The groups are hosting raffles, tournaments and providing support to one another in their various fundraising events, all with the common goal of improving the diamonds.
Hampton says a sponsorship package will be sent out soon to try to accumulate additional funding for the baseball diamonds.
FABULAS has been instrumental in beautifying many parks throughout the region, most notably the Richardson Pioneer Splash Park at the Honey Capital Park in Falher and helping to install new rubber surfacing for the climbing structure at the Girouxville Park. The dedicated group of volunteers throughout the last decade have helped to improve many recreational facilities throughout the region to provide safe places for the community to use.
If you would like to donate time or resources to the baseball diamond project, please contact Dave Marchildon at (780) 837-1958.