Community effort resurrects ball field
© Andrew Wagstaff - The Citizen-Record
Softball has returned to Advocate Harbour with the resurrection of the community's ball field next to the Advocate District Development Association's campground. The Advocate District School boys' team hosted visitors from Springhill in action this week.
ADVOCATE HARBOUR – Dorothy Ross smiled as she heard the crack of the bat and saw another fly ball soaring into the sea breeze here this week. The game of softball had returned to Advocate, thanks to a full community effort.
“It’s working our great,” said Ross, president of the Advocate District Development Association (A.D.D.A.), watching a game between the Advocate and Springhill school teams. “There’s a lot of interest, and a lot of people getting involved, which is the best part.”
The A.D.D.A. was approached last fall by local parent Michelle Berry with the idea of fixing up the field, which sits beside the association’s campground property. The field had once been active with softball activity, but fell idle several years ago, and had become overgrown with alders, bushes and hay.
Ross, who had been an active ball player in a local ladies’ league during the 1970s and ‘80s, said they were immediately receptive to the idea.
“We said yes, we were really excited about that because we wanted to see a ball field back in operation again,” she said.
She credited Berry and her volunteers for doing a tremendous amount of work on the project, beginning last fall, when the A.D.D.A. gave them the go-ahead. Poles were donated and installed for the new backstop, for example.
Meanwhile, funding was received from the Municipality of Cumberland County, and the field will be a work in progress.
“A whole bunch of volunteers came up and got the field all ready,” said Ross. “The only thing that was actually paid for was the mesh for the backstop. Everything else has been volunteered, and everyone in the community has helped.”
More work remains to be done, including a fence, bleachers and dugouts, which is all in the plans.
So far, the field is being used by both boys’ and girls’ teams from the school, and a fundraising game is being planned between youth and parents. Ross said they would also like to see it get used by campground patrons.
“Kids need some place to play ball,” she said. “For years kids didn’t seem interested in ball, they were more interested in running and different sports, but this year there’s interest in playing ball again. I’m happy to see it because we had a lot of fun with it.”
On behalf of the association, Berry gave credit to the many individuals and businesses that have contributed to the project, including L.G. MacGillivary & Son; the Municipality of Cumberland County; Reid’s Construction; the SPAR Community Health Board; and Stella Jones Ltd.
“The volunteers in this community are very dedicated and they worked hard to complete this project,” she said. “Without them it would not have been possible.”