Council pledges support for volunteers with funding for Field of Dreams scoreboard

Matt Ronan addresses councillors on behalf of the Prince Edward County Minor Baseball Association seeking assistance in installing a new scoreboard at Wellington's Field of Dreams. (Chad Ibbotson/Gazette staff)




The Prince Edward County Minor Baseball Association received positive news this week as council approved funding for the installation of a new electronic scoreboard.

At their meeting Tuesday evening, council approved a motion to allow the installation of an electronic scoreboard at Wellington’s Field of Dreams baseball diamond as well as up to $6,000 in cash or in kind toward the installation. The $6,000 will be funded through the municipality’s capital sustainability reserve.

Acting mayor Dianne O’Brien said support for the project means support for volunteers.

“It’s important to support that project at this time because it encourages the volunteers to stay committed because the volunteers are absolutely committed to this community,” she said.

The move comes after Prince Edward County Minor Baseball Association representatives Matt Ronan and John Allison sought municipal assistance at the May 10 committee-of-the-whole meeting. They told the committee the Rotary Club of Wellington had initiated a project to upgrade the baseball diamonds back in 2015 and to date had provided $20,000 toward a new scoreboard and aluminum bleachers. Ronan told councillors the association had invested $1,000 in engineering plans for the installation. However, they didn’t anticipate that installation would cost $6,000.

Ronan told councillors much of the maintenance work done at the site is community-driven with John and Jane Allison volunteering to cut grass and ensure the diamonds are ready. They also organizer work parties with baseball players from across the county when there are any repairs to be made. Ronan said that often requires resources gained through raffles, charities, or partnerships.

The new scoreboard could make the Wellington diamonds a more attractive location for provincial tournaments, he said.

O’Brien noted the work Wellington Rotary has already done toward the project.

“If we didn’t have groups like the rotary and the dedication of these volunteers, we wouldn’t have things like the hardball diamond — there are so many things we wouldn’t have,” she said.

The association is part of the Quinte Baseball league, which is based in Belleville. The league supports teams with youth ages four to 19.

“Council wanted to support this even though it’s outside of the grant process and out of budget time,” said O’Brien. “There are sometimes when you just have look at it as the right thing to do to support our volunteers.”

A staff report presented to councillors during Tuesday’s meeting says staff will work with the association to have the installation completed as quickly as possible and will offer assistance wherever feasible.