ANTIGONISH: With accessibility at the forefront, a partnership between the Town of Antigonish and Challenger Baseball is set to improve access to the community’s public play areas.

Being involved with Challenger Baseball, Randy Crouse said accessibility is a big thing for their athletes and their families, and in making Antigonish town and county more accessible, they wanted to take a role with a sports and recreation aspect.

“So areas of play, ball field, soccer field, parks, playgrounds, areas like that we want to make sure we can make them accessible as possible,” Crouse told The Reporter. “we saw the impact just an accessible ball field had on the community, so our thought was what else can we do, if we can do this with just a ball field, imagine what we could do if we worked together with the town to make other areas more accessible.”

With 42 families involved with Challenger Baseball, Crouse said they want to make sure they can help the town with their first hand knowledge of what’s difficult to access in Antigonish.

“We just didn’t want to say ‘Hey Town of Antigonish do this, this and this, this is what we need done,’ we wanted to tell them what needed to be done,” he said. “But also wanted to work with them to build a list of ideas of areas in which would be improved and help with the fundraising aspect of it as well.”

Making everyday life easier, for not only their athletes, but for anyone with mobility issues now or in the future is their goal, Crouse said.

“This isn’t just a one-year thing, we want to make this an ongoing initiative, we came up with a list of about 30 things, obviously we won’t be able to cross everything off our list in one year,” he said. “But over the next couple of years we want to keep on working on it and improve everything we can.”

Each year, Crouse said they will cross off a couple projects on their list, funded though community fundraising; costs of the projects will be shared with the town 50-50.

“Some things are larger projects, some want to see an outdoor basketball court that would be accessible, something smaller would be improving the accessibility of The Landing, or even wheelchair accessible picnic tables or benches,” Crouse said. “Ideally, one year we could do two or three small ones, and then maybe it’s two medium things, and then one large project.”

Crouse hopes they can raise $5,000 each year for enhancement projects.

“Which would give us $10,000 for projects,” he said. “I think that would make quite a difference.”

Now Challenger Baseball will start a fundraising push, starting with an auction this fall, putting a call out to businesses for donations, Crouse said, noting their plan this year is to build a concrete pathway down to the Sandlot Baseball Field, with the estimated cost of the project approximately $9,000.

Anyone looking to share ideas on what they’d like to see improved, whether they want to make a donation in terms of financial or for the auction, or if they would like more information they can contact Crouse at: randy.crouse@hotmail.com or 902-318-0707.