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Leo Blair Fields to get facelift


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NORTH RIVER - The North River ball fields are being given a new lease on life.
The Leo Blair Memorial Ball Fields, which were once a sought after location for provincial and eastern Canadian fastball championships, have been neglected in recent years and were almost unusable.
But through the Department of Health Promotion and Protection's recreation facility development grant program, the province is contributing $14,700 towards upgrading the two fields during the next two years.
"With this grant, we are able to repair the outfields, build bleachers and dugouts, giving our children a safe environment to play this summer," said Lynn Cox, North River and District Recreation Association treasurer and secretary.
Colchester North MLA Karen Casey presented the cheque on behalf of the government on May 2 to association executive
members.
This year's work will include repairing the outfield on field one and replacing the dugouts' roofs. Field two will see new dugouts and repairs to make it safer. Both fields are getting new bleachers and there will also be a basketball net added.
This year's budget is $58,000. Work has already begun and is expected to be complete by the end of the month, with minor ball starting June 1.
The plan is to repair the outfield on field two next year.
The association has received grants from the Municipality of Colchester, the Community Health Board, as well as funding from the student employment program to hire a student. It also had two students fill out the SOGO active applications and each were approved for equipment grants. Local businesses have also donated some material to the association.
The fields are used by a district that includes Truro, Bible Hill, Valley, Salmon River, Millbrook, Onslow, Debert and North River. A once dwindling sport is slowly making its way back.
This past year the association's mite program boasted three teams.
From the three squads a team was formed to attend the provincial championship in Trenton. The team finished second, loosing by one run in the gold medal game.
The association's programs run from blast ball, where children learn to play the sport, to midget.
With the work being done this summer, the association has landed the right to host the provincial squirt and bantam championships this year.
Anyone interested in registering their children for ball, or renting the fields during the day or weekends, can contact Chuck or Lynn at 895-7079 or visit the association's website at http://users.eastlink.ca/~jevco/NRhome.html.

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