Blue Jays to help Blind River, Ont. complete ball field improvements
SAULT STE. MARIE -- It may not sound like much, but a $30,000 grant from Canada's only Major League Baseball team, is about to go a long way for the town of Blind River, Ont.
The township is one of 14 municipalities across the country that are recipients of this year's Field of Dreams program funding, which will be used to complete big upgrades to the town's only baseball diamond.
"I couldn't believe how excited people were on social media when they got the news," said Sally Hagman, mayor of Blind River. "People have been reaching out, saying it's been something that's really needed in the community."
The township set aside its own funding to complete the project in a four-year span, which would see new fencing, grass, and upgraded bleachers, among other infrastructure upgrades.
This was on top of the four years prior that the town took to get the project off the ground.
"The Blue Jays allowed us to condense this, eight or nine-year project into something we can accomplish this summer for our community," said Karen Bittner, Blind River's director of facilities and community services. "So it's really incredible when you break down these incremental enhancements."
Bittner said the diamond itself goes beyond that of just baseball. Being one of the largest open spaces in the Blind River, it's often used for festivals, concerts, and other local events, which has significantly worn it out over the years.
"It's a place where people who are young play and people who are young at heart play," said Sally Hagman. "Now that we've got this grant, it's just going to be amazing what we can do to the area."
Upgrades to the field are expected to be completed by July, in time for baseball teams to use it, should pandemic restrictions ease up.