March 24, 2021
The executive of the Grand Forks International (GFI) Baseball Tournament have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s GFI which had been scheduled for June 28-July 4, 2021
The tournament was to have been the 38th.
This is the 2nd successive year that the tournament has been cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Tournament Co-ordinator Steve Boutang indicated that the committee had no other choice but to cancel given the nature of the pandemic, the Health Officer’s guidelines, gathering restrictions, and the current state of the Canadian-US Border closure.
“We simply have too many things working against us at this point in time,” said Boutang.
“If we knew 100 percent that the border was going to be open before June, and we knew that the gathering restrictions were going to be gone by June then we could reasonably make plans to carry on. But we aren’t in that position. And with a potential 3rd wave beginning, we can’t expect things to change in the short term. We were really out of options to wait any longer.”
Further, teams south of the border have been planning their seasons already and were looking for a commitment from the GFI as to the status of the event so that they could fill out their schedules.
The GFI even looked at holding a smaller event with just Canadian based teams but there wasn’t the kind of interest that would make it worthwhile.
“We also had to look at logistics of the event locally. Sure fans want to attend. But do the people in Grand Forks really want outsiders coming in with potential COVID 19? Grand Forks has gotten away relatively unscathed with the pandemic, so we are cognizant of not wanting to invite potential problems from abroad here too.”
Boutang says ironically this year’s field could have been the strongest yet with summer collegiate teams from the east coast, California, and elsewhere that have never been to Grand Forks.
“We’ll be working hard to get these clubs committed for 2022 as soon as this fall when they start making plans for next season. I’m still excited about this event going forward and making sure that the citizens and ball fans in Grand Forks and area can see a quality product again next summer.”
For more information contact Steve Boutang at email@example.com or on cell at 250-919-4754.
Butler Park to get new lights before 2022 season
City council votes to install lighting and netting to Trail baseball park
By Jim Bailey – Trail Times
From an article on August, 26, 2021
City staff laid the groundwork to complete the lighting and netting additions to Butler Park before the start of the next baseball season.
After stadium light standards were deemed to be unsafe, the city removed the poles and netting this past year, and made way for a new installation.
At an Aug. 16 Governance and Operations Committee meeting, a staff report recommended four options for installing new stadium lighting and netting at the Trail baseball park.
“(Engineering technician) Kyle McCormick has worked diligently with engineers and vendors to come up with what we feel is a practical recommendation moving forward,” said public works director, Chris McIsaac.
Because the soil below Butler has low cohesion, engineers decided on the installation of drilled and cast-in-place concrete piles.
Also, the upgrades to the stadium lighting will reduce the number of standards needed from eight to six along with the number of LED stadium luminaries, and 15-gauge Dyneema netting will be strung along the first and third-base lines.
“This proposed Butler Park installation is a significant addition to the fiscal 2021 capital projects,” wrote Interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Rino Merlo. “To proceed in 2021 requires a substantial amount of non-budgeted cash.
“However, should council authorize this Report’s recommendations, the city has the funding to proceed in 2021.”
Merlo offered that funding could come from various sources including the city’s deferred amount within the UBCM Community Building Fund of $1.25M, the Capital Works Reserve Fund $236,000 and Surplus about $100,000.
“However, this significant draw down of capital resources reduces the city’s financial flexibility.”
Parks and Rec director Trisha Davison also confirmed that there is grant funding of about $235,000 pending.
The immediate costs were a concern for Mayor Lisa Pasin who said, when considering last year’s total capital budget, a $1.5M expenditure would amount to 55 per cent of the total budget allocated for capital.
To spend 55 per cent of a total budget on one project is significant for the city, she later clarified.
“And this should be evaluated within the context of all priority projects.”
Of the four options, Option 1 was the least expensive at $1.586M with all work being completed in 2021.
However, in a 5-2 vote, council chose Option 2, which will see pole foundations, underground electrical, and stadium lighting installed in phase 1, and completed with the netting put up in the spring of 2022.
The cost for Option 2 is estimated at $1.642M, more than Option 1, but less than Option 3 and 4 at $1.655M, whose estimated completion dates were by the end of 2022.