Nova Scotia

Field of dreams: $1M upgrade planned for Dominion sports field

A century-old baseball field in Dominion, N.S., is getting a huge revamp. A newly formed non-profit group is launching the Hawks Dream Field project in memory of a former player and community volunteer.

'We're going to take the Hawks field and revitalize it and make it 100 per cent accessible'

Hawks Field in Dominion, N.S., was established in 1908. (Hawks Dream Field/Facebook)

A century-old baseball field in Dominion, N.S., is getting a huge revamp, thanks to a newly formed non-profit group.

The Dominion Hawks field was established in 1908 as part of a colliery baseball league, when the area's coal mines were in full production.

The Hawks Dream Field project was launched in memory of a Hawks player and community volunteer, Walter McNeil, who died this past year.

His daughter, Lisa McNeil-Campbell, is chair of the society behind the project.

"He was about community and giving and making sure that all the kids had an opportunity to play sports," she said.

The Hawks Dream Field project is being developed in memory of Walter McNeil, a former Hawks player and community volunteer. (Submitted by Lisa McNeil-Campbell)

"We're going to take the Hawks field and revitalize it and make it 100 per cent accessible to people of all ages and all abilities."

The project is expected to cost $1 million.

McNeil-Campbell said improvements will include turf on the infield so people in wheelchairs can play baseball.

There will also be an accessible splash pad.

She said new clubhouse washrooms will offer additional features, including a table large enough to change an adult-size child.

Carol Prendergast is the executive director of the Horizon Achievement Centre in Sydney, N.S., which offers programs for people with disabilities. She welcomes the plans.

A splash pad is part of the vision for the revitalization of Hawks Field. (Submitted by Hawks Dream Field Society)

"A lot of people with disabilities, you often see them sitting on the sidelines, so being an active part of that is wonderful," said Prendergast. "It's really positive from the aspect of their own physical and mental health and personal well-being to be included."

The new canteen will be run by people with disabilities from the Horizon Centre.

Features for seniors

The upgrades will also be designed with seniors in mind.

"The walking track is actually going to have a handrail all around the exterior," said project co-chair Sheldon Saccary. "They can also come and play bocce, a lawn bowling game."

Saccary said the group hopes to raise $250,000 locally and will look to government and corporate sponsors for the rest.

They also plan to approach the Toronto Blue Jays for financial support through the team's foundation program.

Saccary said the group hopes to begin construction later this year, with the first phase ready for the spring of 2021.

About the Author

George Mortimer is a longtime reporter in Cape Breton.

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