The minor softball Timbits team is itching to get on the Doug Kerr baseball field on opening day. (Submitted)

Port and Pembina pitch $71,500 to bring Doug Kerr ballpark home

Softball and baseball revival in Prince Rupert drives need for restored park

A revival in baseball and softball has driven the need for a ballpark closer to home.

Doug Kerr Field originated as a minor baseball field, before it deteriorated into a plot of land only fit for dogs to frolic in. Then in 2015, the Prince Rupert Minor Softball Association was formed, and in 2016, the North Coast Minor Baseball League emerged, recruiting a whole new generation of little leaguers to grow the beloved sport. With this revival, came the need for more ballparks.

Funding for the ballpark to open this season came in droves from community sponsors including a $41,500 contribution from the Port of Prince Rupert and $30,000 from Pembina. Additional funding came from Sperling Hansen, Rupert Wood’N Steel, L & M Engineering, Broadwater Industries, and RONA Tyee Building Supplies, a new Doug Kerr Field is born.

“The City of Prince Rupert is thankful for the support of local businesses like the Port of Prince Rupert who recognized the importance of this project and provided the funding to ensure it happened in time for the 2018 baseball and softball seasons,” said Mayor Lee Brain, in the press release. “It’s great to see new and expanded recreation options for the youth of Prince Rupert, and Doug Kerr Field will be a legacy asset for this community as we continue to grow in the coming years.”

The Vice President of Pembina, Brad Kohlsmith, said he understands the importance of sports in kids’ lives. It’s a topic that hits home for Kohlsmith, as a father himself.

“Baseball diamonds and recreation facilities provide an important space for families and communities to come together,” Kohlsmith said.

READ MORE: North Coast Minor Baseball Association returns to the mound

Emily Kawaguchi, president of the North Coast Minor Baseball Association also thanked supporting businesses. “Our kids have been thrilled to be able to play baseball again, and we’re really pleased to have more field capacity as the league continues to grow,” she said.

“We need access to safe and well-maintained ball diamonds to successfully maintain youth softball,” said Ralph Weick, President of the Prince Rupert Minor Softball Association. “The port, the city, and the other corporate sponsors really came through for us to get this project done.”

There are now six fields for games, including McKeown Park in Port Edward, Crestview Park, Roosevelt Park, Chris Maguire Field, Patty Hutcheon Field and Doug Kerr Field.

READ MORE: Doug Kerr dog park to be restored as baseball field

“Creating and restoring recreational assets in the Prince Rupert area has been one of the most obvious outcomes of our Community Investment Fund, and we’re excited to help bring Doug Kerr Field back into use for minor baseball and softball,” said Joe Rektor, interim president and CEO for the Port of Prince Rupert. “The size and central location of the field is ideal for younger players, and we look forward to seeing kids enjoying the sport here for many years to come.”

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