Danika Bergen of the Ice girls under-16 B rep team warms up prior to a game against Cawston at Columbia Park field last June. The field is getting some enhancements prior to the 2018 season.Western News file photoDanika Bergen of the Ice girls under-16 B rep team warms up prior to a game against Cawston at Columbia Park field last June. The field is getting some enhancements prior to the 2018 season.Western News file photo

Columbia Park ball field getting a makeover

Ball field getting improvements for 2018 season

When the ball season opens this spring, members of the Penticton Minor Fastpitch Softball Association are coming back to some much-needed

enhancements.

Over the next few weeks, the field in Columbia Park is getting a bit of a makeover, with new roofed dugouts, extended fences, a bullpen and a scorekeeper’s booth.

“The dugouts, for example, are very small and very crowded and they don’t have a roof on them. So we want to make them just a little bit larger, fenced and then a simple roof over top for shade and rain protection, things like that for the kids,” said Len Robson, manager of public works for the City of Penticton.

Running fences farther out along both sidelines protects will help protect cars and passers-by on the street, as well as helping keep players from having to chase out-of-play balls off the field.

“It’s just upgrading it a bit to make it so that they have a better place to play, safe and something they’re proud of,” said Robson.

That’s going to make for a better game, according to Craig Denton, president of the fastpitch association, and a safer game too for the kids, not running across the street as much to chase balls.

“It is something that will benefit a lot of players for many years to come so it is very exciting for our league and our players,” said Denton.

The association uses a field behind Wiltse school for U10 and U12 teams, and Columbia for the U14 and U16 Penticton Power and Ice Girls teams.

Related: Ice finish fifth at softball provincials

Robson said the budget for the upgrades is $24,000, and is in addition to the investment the fastball association made last year, building a storage shed for

the field.

The city has been very co-operative in working with the association according to Denton, adding that Home Hardware donated all the building materials.

“That was about $5,000 worth of building materials for that shed,” said Denton. “We built it, and then the city this year agreed to put in all the upgrades we asked for.”

Helping the association make the field a better, and safer, playing area was the right thing to do, said

Robson.

“It is a great community field and the fastpitch association has helped us out up there,” said Robson. “If you want these teams to be successful you have to give them the right playgrounds to play in.”

Denton said the PMFSA is hoping to have a grand opening game for the made-over field sometime in late April.

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