ESTEVAN — It’s been about a month since the local minor baseball season came to an end in Estevan, but the upgrades to the ball diamonds at Mel Murray Cactus Park and Lynn Prime Park are ongoing.
Estevan Minor Baseball vice-president Mel Murray has been working long hours at the two facilities the past few weeks. He could also be seen putting in long hours at the ball diamonds during the season.
It’s all part of a partnership between the City of Estevan and the EMB that has resulted in numerous improvements for local baseball facilities.
Murray stressed that while he gets attention because he’s seen at the parks, this is a reflection of the work by EMB, which he said has a great executive.
“Everybody does their job, and it’s done great, and I’m just down there cleaning things up.”
And it has been “fantastic” to work with the city, he said.
“We have a meeting at the end of every year and we have a meeting at the start of every year to discuss what minor ball is looking at and what the city is looking at, and we talk it back to our minor ball board and go through everything,” he said.
A sign at each park lists and thanks the companies that have donated to minor ball over the years, whether it be through cash or work in kind.
So far this year at Cactus, he has upgraded the dugouts by tearing off the tin and adding new tin, and putting new cement work on the dugouts.
Over at Lynn Prime Park, he’s working on Panteluk Field, reseeding the grass and putting in new material for the warning track.
New shale has been added at Lynn Prime’s Peterson Field this year as well.
Upgrades were definitely needed at Panteluk Field, he said, as nothing significant had been done since it opened in 2008. Dips had formed in the outfield and the situation was getting worse.
“We thought this was the time to get it done since we had some funds to do it.”
The EMB has received donations to install four new scoreboards between Cactus and Lynn Prime and new portable pitching mounds at Cactus, and to improve the pathway at Cactus and drainage at the two facilities. Doors for washrooms were replaced.
The surpluses from the provincial championships and the Western Canada Baseball Championships in Estevan have been used to improve the diamonds.
Right after Western Canadians, Murray spent a few days removing banners and handling other duties. After a two-day break, it was back to work to get projects done before the winter. He hopes to be finished on Sept. 26.
A young local athlete, Carter Williamson, helped a lot at provincials and westerns.
“He’d ump, and when he gets done umping, he’d come and he’d say ‘Mel, what do you need done?’ He would help me. We’d pick garbage. All of the little things that people forget about.”
Two city workers also assisted him.
Rod March, who is the manager of parks and facilities for the City of Estevan, said he has seen the work that has been put in at the diamonds.
“We have a really good relationship, and I’m so pleased every time Mel comes to me, because it seems like every cent that’s made by minor ball, or at least every effort they make, it’s all in the interest of making the facilities better and preparing them for future generations,” said March.
The city wants to match the money that minor ball puts into the facilities, but minor ball raises tens of thousands of dollars each year through donations and events.
“It’s a really good relationship, and I don’t know if everyone knows how good that relationship is and how thankful we are as a city to have that relationship,” said March.
Both Murray and March praised the city staff and parks foreman Shannon Wanner for their work on the facilities. The city and minor ball get lots of compliments about the work that has been finished, and March thinks it’s important for these projects to occur.