Randy Crouse, coordinator for Challenger Baseball Canada, stands with Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher, Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron, several members of the respective councils, and the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Softball team during a cheque presentation last Thursday. The County of Antigonish committed to $50,000 for the Accessible Field Project.

ANTIGONISH: During softball play last Thursday at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, representatives from the County of Antigonish visited the fields at J.H. Gillis Regional school to hand over a hefty chunk of change for a great cause.

The $50,000 cheque will be put toward the Accessible Field Project guided by Antigonish Challenge Baseball.

So far, Challenger Baseball has amassed a tidy sum for the project. The money from the county matches a contribution of $50,000 from the Town of Antigonish for the Accessible Field Project. (All told, the town earmarked $150,000 for field renovations, with $50,000 going toward the Accessible Field Project.) With that, the Toronto Blue Jay’s Jays Care Foundation has put down $150,000 to make the field accessible.

Other donations have come in as well, making the total sum collected for the project just under $350,000.

“Our goal is to raise between $400,000 and $450,000,” said Randy Crouse, coordinator for Challenger Baseball Canada.

“The ultimate goal is to get stuff rolling this fall, and hopefully start play next spring. Barring any hiccups, that’s what we’re shooting for. We still have work to do, but with support of the community.

“The Blue Jays was a great thing to get us jumpstarted. That helped us put it out into the community that we’re doing this. It helped with fundraising, and it also helped getting the town and county on board. That makes it a whole lot easier.”

The goal is to have the field fitted with all new fencing, new wheelchair accessible dugouts, and to fix up the outfield grass and in-field turf.

“We just want to make it as accessible as possible,” he said. “Whether you’re using a wheelchair, a walker, prosthetics, it will be accessible.

“We want to make it as accessible as possible for as many people as possible.”

Anyone looking to offer a hand in fundraising is invited to contact Crouse at randy.crouse@hotmail.com, 902-867-6218, or visit antigonishbaseball.com or nschallangebaseball.com.