Springdale has outgrown its softball field.
Don Baker, a representative of the Springdale Softball League, has been playing on the field for 40 years and says it doesn’t meet regulation size – 225 feet at centerfield. Softball Canada typically places regulation slo-pitch fields between 275 and 325 feet.
As a result, Baker said it isn’t uncommon for a number of foul balls and homeruns to find their way into the surrounding area, which includes a roadway, parking lot, playground and soccer field.
A net has been placed to capture some of the strays, but it doesn’t always work.
“With bats nowadays, the ball can come off a bat at 105 mph, once it gets up there and the wind catches it, look out,” he said. “We are especially concerned about balls going into the playground.”
A new field in a new location is the only solution, he said.
And if it’s going to happen, Baker said a regulation field made available for regional use would be the way to go.
“It would be the only regulation field in the area,” he said. “Schools can’t host a provincial tournament right now because the current field is so small.”
Factoring in the in-kind support and donations from the business community, Baker says the cost of the field would likely run $50,000.
Hosting tournaments could cover some of the cost.
“If the league hosted three tournaments per year, you’re looking at $90-100,000 in revenue from registration, entertainment, refreshments, gas and hotels. It’s a big generator for the area,” he said.
But finding the right piece of land has been the challenge.
And it’s not something the Town of Springdale can do.
While it fully supports the concept of a new softball field, Mayor Dave Edison said the town doesn’t have a sufficient piece of land to offer.
“The issue has always been where it goes and who owns the land,” he said. “If a spot is located and a proposal is submitted to us I don’t think anybody on council would be opposed to it.”
Edison added there are private land owners that might be able to accommodate the request, and work in identifying a suitable location continues.
If a commitment for a piece of land could be established, Barker said the committee would be ready to knock the project out of the park.