Baseball association still seeking Jubilee improvements

Dave Kearsey
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  Steve Angeline says city folks have no idea just how good a facility Jubilee Field is when compared to some of the diamonds in major cities in the United States.

However, he was a tad shocked to discover that not much has changed in 30 years when he looked at the ancillary services at the field such as the washrooms, canteen and locker-rooms.

“I would have thought that over that time the city might have done something to upgrade those facilitiies,” Angeline said.

The former head coach of the Corner Brook minor baseball program got a good look at the new playing surface at Jubilee Field while he was here for a 17-day stint lending a helping hand to the coaching staff of this year’s summer baseball program. He spent a lot of time helping out at the 20-team Mary Tavenor Memorial Tournament during his trip to the city. It was during this tournament he really saw the need for something to be done sooner rather than later.

“I have parents who can’t wait in line to get to the rest room with their kids so they have to walk them down to Margaret Bowater Park,” Angeline, who ran the minor program from 1979-84, said.

“The facilities just need to be modernized for that reason,” he added. “I hope the city realizes they can make that part of it even that much better to really make this a world-class facility.”

The local baseball association has been lobbying the city for years in an effort to spuce things up and make the experience for all frequent users a lot better. According to association director Frank Humber, the association submitted a formal proposal to the city in 2002 to address their concerns and have expressed its concerns with the various city councils along the way. Humber said nothing has changed in the association’s desire to deal with the constant complaints received from parents and players over the years when it comes to the state of the washrooms and locker rooms.

“Every year it comes up and certainly we bring it to the attention of the city, but I guess it’s got to become a priority on their radar,” Humber said. “It has to be something that they feel they have the resources to move on.”

Humber said the association is a not-for-profit volunteer-driven group focused on providing a sound baseball program for boys and girls, so there’s not much he can do and remain patient. The local association is active in hosting tournaments every summer and Humber just wants to make the experience a more enjoyable one for all who use the facility.

“We direct our resources to the programming. We don’t have the resources to be building facilities.”.

In an emailed statement Mayor Charles Pender, who was out of the country, said council has been aware of the need to replace some of the existing structures for some time.

“It appears to me that the existing structures are certainly outdated and in need of replacement,” the mayor said in the email.

Pender said he wants to have discussions with association officials and get a professional assessment done on the state of the current facilities and then look at what would be envisioned to replace, repair or upgrade those facilities to meet the needs of current and future users.

He also wants to establish both a capital budget and an overall operating budget to ensure the long-term financial viability of any investment council would decide to make.

“From there we would have to work with the baseball association to find funding support from both the provincial and federal governments where possible in addition to any contributions that the city and the baseball association might make,” the mayor said.

Geographic location: United States, Corner Brook, Margaret Bowater Park

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