Green light for grass grant: Yellowknife ballpark gets $60,000 from city

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Yellowknife, NWT – Yellowknife’s Tommy Forrest ballpark has long been lacking an ingredient many consider vital: grass.

Now, at last, the ballpark is going green.

The city of Yellowknife has given final approval to a grant of around $60,000 which will help fastball players lay down grass next summer.

The players themselves, who drew up plans to improve the city-owned ballpark on Franklin Avenue, will contribute more than $20,000 and some manual labour.

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Players hope laying down grass will solve the problem of safety in the outfield, which is a dusty and sometimes dangerous place to play at present.

But Vince Barter and Rob Johnson, two of the team behind the project to redevelop Tommy Forrest, say the plans are about more than enjoying a better, safer game.

“It’s not only the grass surface that’s going to be dealt with. We’re going to have a new infield put in as well. So it’s going to be better for all user groups, particularly the youth,” Barter told Moose FM.

“How many places do you go where you actually see a ball diamond smack-dab on the main stretch? We want it to be more community-friendly and more user-friendly.

“It’s building a complex, it’s trying to attract as many user groups as possible, as opposed to just one or two leagues.”

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Barter, an architect, has also come up with long-term plans to install a “green monster” – a la Fenway Park – and even a working scoreboard, though he stresses those are not part of the work being funded next year.

“One of the ideas we were playing with is creating an actual scoreboard, where you could have youth, minor-ball players changing inside this thing,” explained Barter.

“It’s an old-school thing that doesn’t take any power – we don’t need lights up here, playing in summer.”

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Johnson says work on the grass and infield will start in August 2015. The concern is making sure the surface is playable for June 2016, so young minor ball players don’t lose their season.

“The intent is to have the grass ready and playable for June 2016,” he said.

“We’re going to end our season early next summer, get it all done, leave it the entire winter to settle, and then see how the melt works in the spring.”

CJCD Moose FM News

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