Upgrades to City Diamond ball field at Victoria Park completed

Baseball enthusiasts can expect some big changes at Victoria Park's City Diamond, as upgrades to both the lighting system and the field have been completed.

'It's practically a brand-new field with new lights,' says Coun. Mitchell Tweel

The new LED lights have been installed at City Diamond baseball field in Victoria Park. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Baseball enthusiasts can expect some big changes at Victoria Park's City Diamond, as upgrades to both the lighting system and the field have been completed.

The field has been in need of "major work" for years, said Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chair of Charlottetown's parks, recreation and leisure activities committee.

"The field wasn't level, there was holes, there was deficiencies, and it wasn't good for the left fielder or the right fielders," Tweel said.

"It was something that we wanted to do, it's been on the books for a number of years and finally we were able to partner with both the province and the feds to meet those expenditures and to be able to proceed with the reconstruction of the field and the replacement of the light standards."

The cost for replacing the lights was budgeted at around $356,000 — as well as $5,500 for engineering fees — and the city got funding approved through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to cover off $241,989 of that cost.

The old lights needed to be removed in order for new equipment and LED fixtures to be installed, as well as upgraded wiring and a new control panel.

Field levelling and upgrade work cost $141,777, as well as another $14,000 for engineering fees.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel is the chair of the Charlottetown parks, recreation and leisure activities committee. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

"It was in dire straits, disrepair. I mean, we knew about this for a number of years, but it's all about tapping into infrastructure dollars," Tweel said.

"Now with these upgrades, we're also going to be able to accommodate bantam and peewee baseball. There's a new fence — new home run fence — it's practically a brand-new field with new lights, so it's a whole new dynamic."

There's no shortage of demand for field time, Tweel said, and players can expect a much better experience at City Diamond.

"A remarkable project, a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. This is one of the projects that we were pursuing for the last number of years and, you know what, finally got it on the docket," he said.

"We do have community and user groups already lined up, but they've been lined up even before the upgrades have taken place, so this is going to be a much better experience for the ball players and there's going to be a lot of usage, and that was the whole intention and the purpose for the revitalization of this particular ball field."

Work started on May 22 and was set to be completed by July 31, Tweel said, putting the city a day ahead of schedule.

"We're on time and on target," Tweel said Thursday. "I think you're going to see the first game tonight."

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