On Wednesday October 25, Orleans Little League Baseball (OLLB) got some mostly very good news from City Hall.  Following applications made to the city’s Community Partnership Major Capital Program, OLLB secured funding towards a new scoreboard and batting cage at Heritage Park, and new dugouts at Wilfred Murray field.

Meanwhile, city hall staff and the City Council Committee also recommended funding for building a new tee ball and coach pitch field at Heritage Park.  This however required and, disappointingly, did not gain the support of Innes Ward councillor and city sports commissioner, Jody Mitic.  As a result, the funding was not granted. Even more disappointingly, the proposal has been characterized in some corners as an effort to deprive local dog owners of something they treasure, which was not our intention in the least.

While the initial proposal did suggest moving the current off leash dog designation of Heritage to a separate park, after hearing views from the community, OLLB learned about local dog owners’ attachment to the current location and in particular, its proximity to wooded trails.  As a result, prior to the proposal being brought to its final stage, OLLB sought a compromise in which city funding would  have helped build a new diamond at Heritage without moving the dog park. Unfortunately, that compromise was rejected.

In pursuit of additional fields, OLLB has always been—and remains open—to constructive dialogue and joint, grassroots solutions.  From the start, our objective was “win-win.”  As an example, our initial proposal included OLLB funding for a fountain at the dog park.  After all, our league is filled with players’ families who bring four-legged fans to games throughout spring and summer and we know how thirsty they can get!

For OLLB, it is regretful that this issue has seemingly bred division amongst some parts of our shared community.  We want to express our continuing will to work together with community members and associations, and city council to find solutions that can benefit Orleans as a whole and open up new opportunities for kids to learn and play the game that so many of us grew up playing and loving and which is gaining in demonstrably renewed popularity.

Following the outcome of the week’s activity at City Hall, we have received some encouraging signals from some councillors in this regard and we will be following up accordingly.

Rest assured, our goal is to ensure that any and all kids in Orleans who want to learn and play baseball can do just that.  And you have our word that we will continue working constructively to achieve that goal.