A $500,000 renovation at Veteran’s Field appears to have struck out with the user groups.
Dave Saad, representing North Bay Minor Baseball, and Adam Campbell, the president of the Senior Men’s Baseball league say they are at an impasse with the city of North Bay.
Saad believes the city threw a “curve ball” at the user groups when they stated that the Steve Omischl Sports Complex baseball field will be converted to a softball field for next season.
He feels that taking a baseball field away will cripple the more than 500 players from rookie ball to senior men’s from playing the game.
“We can’t sign an agreement that would not include Omischl as our opportunity to have first right of refusal on," stated Saad.
“There has been a lot of communication, it is just that our stand has been very consistent that we cannot do this without Omischl, We cannot operate the two leagues without Omischl.”
City council approved the renovations during a council meeting back in March with the shovels breaking ground at the end of the NDA High School Baseball season in late June.
See related: Council swings away with Veteran's Field renovations
The expectation from the user groups is that they provide $75,000 within a 10-year span to help pay for the new facility.
Saad feels right now, it is not worth it.
“We are more than happy to do it but we are not going to pay $75,000 to end up in a lesser position than what we are in today,” he said.
Saad also criticized the city for starting the renovations before the user group agreement was in place. However, he hopes shining a light on this diamond dilemma will lead to a home run for both sides.
“Our hope is that we can get back to the table, that negotiations can continue, that we can present our case once again that we need both fields for the growth and development of baseball in the community,” said Saad.
Mark King, the City of North Bay's Community Services Chair says it is unfortunate that they were unable to come to an agreement with the North Bay Baseball Association and the Senior Men’s Baseball League at this time with respect to the upgrades to the baseball field at Veteran’s Field.
"The infield funding agreement was based on discussions dating back to 2012 and 2013," noted King in an email to BayToday.ca.
"The agreement proposed is consistent and in fact more far-reaching and beneficial to baseball than originally conceived. New items surfaced and were introduced in the last several months that were outside of the scope of the infield agreement that was being finalized.
"The City has always maintained that should the demand and/or utilization reach the point that warranted beginning the process of exploring the addition of a new field the City would be willing to move in that direction".
The door remains open for continued discussions, but it appears negotiations will be forced to extra innings.