The future of Memorial Field became a lot more clearer at Moose Jaw City Council’s meeting last night. 

City council voted 6-1 in favour of demolishing the grandstands at Memorial Field and re-construct key amenities including a smaller sound booth, a new maintenance shed, new storage facility, and new electrical/irrigation building. Two aluminum bleachers at the Yara Centre will also be relocated to Memorial Field for spectator seating. 

However, the new renovations would mean no change rooms, port-a-potties would need to be brought in because there would be no washrooms and there would be no concession, although there would be room to bring in food trucks. 

A large contingent from the Moose Jaw Ladies Slo-Pitch League, who operate the facility, were at the meeting. 

“I fell in love with the field and now the ladies have fallen in love with it. This is a difficult one to bite,” Mayor Clive Tolley said. 

Memorial Field is 78 years old and the grandstands last had a major renovation in the early 2000s. The grandstands were closed in 2023 to spectators and a structural assessment was done for the structure. 

“The assessment identified several different risks associated with renovating the existing structure. Therefore, we proceeded then after to conduct a hazardous building materials assessment this past spring just to determine what materials are present and what the cost would be for a renovation or a demolition. That report came back and there was actually a lot more hazardous material in the structure than we had originally thought,” Blais said. 

The city currently has $160,000 in funding in 2024 which would go towards remediating and demolishing the grandstands and support structure, relocating and upgrading electrical panels and installing the new equipment shed and electrical/irrigation building. 

An additional $87,720 would be required in 2025 to install the new sound booth, install and paint a new wood fence at the entrance, relocate the aluminum bleachers, replace dugouts and install protective netting in right field. 

The city would require another $170,500 in 2026 to upgrade the field lighting and replace outfield fencing. 

Blais said the city had been in discussions with the Ladies Slo-Pitch League about this option. 

“We’ve had several meetings with the Moose Jaw Ladies Slo-Pitch throughout this process and I think they understand that it’s not ideal,” Blais said. 

“I think everyone would like Memorial Field to stay how it is, but knowing the financial pressures, I think it’s a workable solution. They’re still maintaining the key amenities that are required to keep the level of services to where it is.” 

Work would be accomplished this fall so it would not interfere with the ball season. 

Other options presented to city council included demolishing the current grandstands, re-construction and extend the field to make it the proper size for men’s fastaball, Little League and 13U baseball. It was cost a total of $302,220 over three years. It would also mean the field would be closed for a full season. 

Robinson was the lone councillor to vote against the first option, saying he’d prefer to do the second option right away and save the cost of extending the field down the road. 

“We know what happens when you kick the can down the road. Instead of $44,000, it’s $88,000 when we go to do it. So, I think there’s options (to move teams for one season). Perhaps one of the Hamilton Flats fields could be ultra-groomed for one season for at lot less money,” Robinson said. 

Coun. Jamey Logan did ask Blais if future expansion was possible if the stands were reconstructed first. Blais said it would be possible, but would still take some time to complete. 

A third option was given to council to renovate the existing grandstands at a cost of $533,770 over three years. However, Blais cautioned that there was still a lot of unknowns when it came to renovating the grandstands. 

A fourth option was to demolish the entire site, permanently close Memorial Field and put it on the market at a cost of $475,250. 

Blais said the issue with the fourth option was that the city would have to terminate the lease agreement with the Moose Jaw Ladies Slo-Pitch League and alternative sites would been to be found for all of the teams that play at Memorial Field. He noted there are four leagues that play out of Memorial Field and areas like Eddy Moore Park and Hamilton Flats would have to accommodate more teams into their already busy schedule.