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CK swings for the fences, sets his sights on another Chatham ball diamond

CK swings for the fences, sets his sights on another Chatham ball diamond

CK swings for the fences, sets his sights on another Chatham ball diamond

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has identified a preferred location for a new regulation size baseball diamond in Chatham.

A report by Parks and Recreation Manager Ian Clark presented to Council Monday night suggests the current Kiwanis Stadium soccer field, next to Fergie Jenkins Field at Rotary Park in Chatham, is the preferred location for the new baseball diamond, subject to construction design and final approval by Council at a later date.

The new fully accessible regulation size ball diamond received the blessing of the Board in January 2024.

If approved, the diamond will be able to host events for players 14 and older and Challenger Baseball programs for those with cognitive or physical disabilities, including the use of a wheelchair.

The committee debated buying a new field for the ball diamond, going to Pain Court Centennial Park, or selecting the Kiwanis Stadium football field and chose the latter.

Clark said the committee did not choose to purchase new land because of uncertainty about the time it would take to buy the land and the additional cost, according to the report. Centennial Park in Pain Court was also not chosen because it was not accessible enough.

The municipality also said some parking will be lost at Memorial Arena if the ground goes ahead.

The municipality anticipates moving the soccer field next to Rotary Park’s Fergie Jenkins Field to the future rugby/soccer field to be built in the new regional park along Bear Line Road by 2027, Clark wrote.

If the baseball diamond site is approved, the Field of Dreams Committee will then be authorized to raise funds for its capital cost, estimated to be approximately $2.5 million.

The municipality would be responsible for the cost of detailed design and engineering services, as the diamond would be owned, operated and maintained by the municipality, and the final design specifications would impact these ongoing costs.

The diamond would also be part of the Municipal Asset Management Plan and may need additional netting and taller fencing to mitigate the impact on surrounding municipal assets, according to the report.

The $35,000 cost of design work for the new diamond and future site requirements will be factored into the 2025 budget if the project is approved.