Accessible Ball Field a Million-Dollar-Dream Coming True

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The new Dominion Hawks ball field is anticipated to be a million-dollar dream come true, making recreational amenities accessible to the public while offering a view to match the price tag.

At a Monday event, the federal administration declared a $400,000 grant toward the Hawks Dream Field project in the neighborhood of Dominion, near Sydney, N.S. The Nova Scotia administration is injecting more than $333,000, and Cape Breton Regional Municipality is investing over $266,000 for an estimated sum of over $1 million.

Lisa McNeil-Campbell, Dream Field organizer, stated she was shocked at the support for the project.

She said,

“It’s a million-dollar view.”

“You’re looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and Dominion Beach. It couldn’t be any more beautiful.”

McNeil-Campbell noted Walter McNeil, her late father, was a founding member of the Hawks Club, and she maturated in the historical field, which has existed in the community since 1911.

The government funding was proclaimed by Liberal MLAs Geoff MacLellan, Liberal MP Mike Kelloway, Derek Mombourquette, and CBRM Coun. Darren Bruckschwaiger will permit the ball field infrastructure to be demolished and rebuilt afresh, including modern accessibility facilities.

Inspired by the late Walter McNeil

The ballfield will be graded and leveled, and baseball fields and new bocce will be created with accessible dugouts and an infield easily accessible by players in wheelchairs.

The new project consists of an accessible canteen, washrooms, new fencing, electric chargers for mobility aids and lighting, and a splash pad.

McNeil-Campbell stated the plan was initiated by her father, who was confined to a wheelchair and died in 2019.

She said,

“His motto was, ‘You can’t learn if you don’t play, so make sure everybody plays,’ and to do that, we need to have an accessible space.”

“We want everybody to be able to do the same thing and feel as equal as everybody else.”

McNeil-Campbell noted that CBRM mostly has an aging population, and seniors should be subjected to ask people for favors to access community facilities.

She said there is hope that the Hawks Dream Field will be just the beginning of improvements throughout the area.

McNeil-Campbell said,

“The whole community needs to do this.”

“We’re going to maybe lead the way, I hope, for other fields, other projects throughout CBRM and beyond to make sure that people of all abilities … can come and be a part of everything, just the same as everybody else.”

She declared that Hecky the Hawk, named after a local resident Heck Andrews, known for hitting the longest home run in Canada, will be the field’s mascot.

McNeil-Campbell noted Andrews hit a dinger in 1938 that went 478 feet out into the ocean and was salvaged by local fishermen. Till today, the bat and ball are preserved among the club’s memorabilia.

She said Hecky the Hawk possesses one wing shorter than the other, and he puts on glasses so children can connect with the accessibility theme.

Bruckschwaiger, representing the Dominion area on the CBRM council, praised all levels of administration for backing the project.

“To say I was looking forward to this day would be an understatement,” he said. “This wasn’t just about fixing up a ball field. It was set up to be an all-inclusive field for everyone in CBRM to enjoy.”

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