First swings in the new Vernon Baseball Association indoor batting cage should come in January.
Baseball president Mark Batchelor said construction began Friday thanks to support from several businesses, service groups and individuals. Price tag for the cage is $70,000.
Minor baseball, with almost 400 players, used $30,000 of their own funds for the cage, adjacent to the two outdoor cages at Marshall Field.
“Tim Hortons and Kal Tire are our major corporate sponsors; they gave us cash,” said Batchelor. “Parks and rec, RDNO and the city are all finding ways to help us build it which is nice.
“We are making a plea to our membership to make a donation if they can. We need the people playing baseball to step up and help us.”
Funtastic and Kalamalka Rotary have committed significant funds to the project.
Tolko gave the association a super deal on wood, while Kevin Black, contracting manager at RONA, did likewise. Associated Ready-Mix in Armstrong, Accutruss Industries, Mertion Excavating and Braden Robertson Construction have also given baseball a break on prices.
“These guys are working for cost or free in some cases,” said Batchelor.
Vernon Baseball will be primary user come winter, but the batting cage will be open to other groups, with adult supervision. Senior baseball and slo-pitch teams will be invited to use the cage.
“This batting cage will provide the opportunity to generations of Vernon players to fully develop their skills and engage in healthy, year-round exercise, absolutely fee of charge, “said Batchelor. This building is going to be around for 50 years.
“It will be a public facility where you reserve time.”
The association will monitor useage by having bookings done on their website.
The cage is needed since Vernon players are forced to travel to Kelowna during the development season from September to March.
“We want them to become better players at home,” said Batchelor.
The cage is a basic building with modest heating and lighting.
Anyone wishing to donate to the project may visit: https://www.gofundme.com/ye7asra8
The fund was sitting at $2,090 as of Saturday.