Innisfail did not hit a financial home run at Red Deer County but the town will get $50,000 to upgrade a baseball diamond.
The town had requested the county provide up to $145,000 for the $583,000 project to overhaul the ball diamond to allow it to be used for provincial and national competitions. Upgrades include sunken dugouts, bleachers, scoreboard and field lighting.
Innisfail council approved $246,000 for the project and another $125,000 is expected to come from a provincial government grant, which is dependent on other fundraising.
County administration proposed council consider an $80,000 grant, which would represent about 33 per cent of the amount Innisfail was contributing.
That number seemed a little high to county councillors on Tuesday.
Coun. Philip Massier pointed out the county’s budget has $100,000 pencilled in to help county communities cover some of the costs of future capital projects.
“Where’s the money going to come from if we spend it all today, in February?”
Massier proposed a $50,000 grant for Innisfail to ensure there was money left should other communities come seeking financial help later in the year.
“I have the same concerns he does,” said Coun. Dana Depalme. “I have no problem helping them but I do feel (the grant) should be reduced.
“I would be OK with the 50 (thousand) but not the 80.”
Coun. Connie Huelsman saw it the same way.
“I am reluctant to use all the $100,000 we have in the budget because we always get asked by other user groups. I know we are going to have other asks further down the road.”
What happens if others come calling and the budget has already been maxed out was also on Coun. Brent Ramsay’s mind.
“I think it’s important that we keep our flexibility at this time.”
In a letter from Innisfail’s Community Facility Enhancement Association, the group says the town is a hub for more than 17,000 baseball enthusiasts, including about 4,200 from Red Deer County.