The construction of four new baseball diamonds in Langdon is rounding third and approaching home plate.
The Langdon Community Campus quad baseball diamonds are still under construction, but the four state-of-the-art diamonds should be able to host games by next spring, according to Chrissy Craig, chair of the Langdon Community Association (LCA) and the project’s fundraising co-ordinator.
“It’s supposed to be finalized by the end of this year, so the end of October or early November,” she said. “It’s pretty much done but will be playable by early next spring, depending on how the grass takes.”
The complex – which includes four diamonds sitting in a clover shape – comes with an approximately $4 million price tag, according to Craig. She said the project received a significant financial boost in July 2019, when Rocky View County council approved $2.25 million to help cover the construction costs of all four fields.
Prior to that funding approval, Craig said the North Bow Community Facility Board (NBCFB) had managed to raise $550,000 toward the project, with most of that coming from developers.
“Luckily enough, funding for it came through before the pandemic,” she said. “We had all that secured and the contractor all secured before everything hit, so it hasn’t been impacted at all – it’s moving pretty much on schedule.”
Even with nearly $3 million, Craig said more fundraising will be needed for the facility’s “niceties” – amenities like lighting, bleachers, a concession stand and clubhouse – to be built in coming years.
“We don’t have lights, we won’t have irrigation and we don’t have a quad to rake the diamonds,” she said. “We don’t have all the nice-to-haves, but we’ll have playable diamonds.”
According to Craig, Langdon’s baseball community is eager to see the new facility come to fruition, adding baseball is the most-played sport in the hamlet.
“It’s a huge sport here in town, and we have people who come from Chestermere, Calgary and Strathmore who want to play out here,” she said. “And now we’ll have fancy diamonds.”
Langdon Little League (LLL) president Brendan Connolly also said baseball is a popular activity in the hamlet. He said LLL had 220 players registered in 2019.
“There was one year when we had more participants than the minor hockey association, but it can vary from year to year,” he said, adding this year saw only 65 participants, as the club’s tee-ball and coach-pitch divisions were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s definitely one of the largest [sports clubs], if not in the top two,” he said.
Considering Langdon’s baseball teams often have to travel to other communities for games, Connolly said the new complex will be a massive benefit for the local baseball community, which currently uses two existing diamonds in Langdon Park and other fields in Indus and Carseland.
“There have been times in the past we’ve had to rent field space in Calgary because the diamonds in Langdon and Indus aren’t big enough for senior baseball,” he said. “All four diamonds in the new quad complex will be big enough for junior, and one will be big enough for senior baseball, which we haven’t had in the past.”
Moving forward, once the fields are playable, Craig said the next step will be to fundraise for additional amenities. She added NBCFB has already applied for the Alberta government’s Community Facility Enhancement Program grant and expects to hear by March 2021 if the application is successful.
“That would [pay for] everything except for lights and irrigation,” she said. “The rest of it, we’re just working on a plan with the ball community on how to fundraise for that.”
Once the complex is complete, Craig said some of the costs associated with constructing the facility could be recouped by renting out the facility for games and tournaments.