Moose Jaw city council has approved several projects as part of its Outdoor Sports Field Renewal Program for 2023.

The total cost is $298,000, funding which has been approved in the 2023 Parks and Recreation Department Capital Budget.

"The actual documented renewal plan provides specific recommendations for each site based on what we're hearing from each user group and also just some opportunities to expand the use for future event hosting opportunities," said Director of Parks and Recreation Derek Blais.

There are more than 60 outdoors sports fields within the City of Moose Jaw.

- 13 sites are operated & maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department.
- 5 sites are on City land but leased and operated by third-party groups. (Hamilton Flats, Eddie Moore Park, Memorial Field, MacDonald Athletic Park and Ross Wells)
- 20 sites belong to local school divisions.

"When something's up for renewal, we don't necessarily replace it exactly with what's there. We look at the current usage trends. We look at how our minor sport organizations are doing. If there's any gaps within their programming or ball diamond inventory or sport field inventory to really replace items to address a current need," continued Blais.

Approved projects for 2023 include:

- Memorial Field grandstand replacement ($175,000)
- New batting cage, new Learn to Play diamond benches, light pole painting, bullpen fencing replacement, and foul pole replacement at Optimist Park ($30,500)
- Add bullpens and fencing top cap at Blackwell Diamond at Kinsmen Regal Heights Park to help enhance future event hosting opportunities at this site ($22,000)
- New parking lot and pathways installed at the WDM Ball Diamonds ($49,000)
- Removal of the old paddling pool and damaged batting cage at Optimist Park. ($20,000)
- Install new park entrance sign at Parkhill Park diamonds ($1,500)

The following maintenance items will also be addressed through the department’s 2023 operating budget:
- New corner pins for field lacrosse at the 1996 Summer Games field.
- Outfield tree root removal and tree pruning and outfield fence repairs at Memorial Field.
- Tree pruning at Ross Wells Park and Parkhill Park.
- Infield shale leveling at Bell Park and Optimist Park.
- Bleacher repairs and painting, and outfield turf repairs at Optimist Park.
- Dugout anchoring at WDM Diamonds.
- New cross pitch design and nets at Veteran’s Peace Park soccer fields.

The Parks and Recreation Department has also included annual funding for sports field renewal in its 5-year capital plan:
- $50,000 in 2024
- $75,000 in 2025
- $100,000 in 2026 and 2027

"The majority of our sports fields were constructed in the 70's, 80's, 90's, so they're getting to be in that 30-year range. There are fences that need to be replaced. There are dugouts and benches and a number of things," added Blais. "A lot of these were constructed through community fundraising campaigns. We also need to keep in mind that we need to keep our eyes open for any type of partnership opportunity moving forward. It's not going to be sustainable for the city to fund 100 per cent of these projects. There's over $6.5 million worth of projects that are identified here with only $600,000 in funding available here over the next five years."

Blais notes the Outdoor Sports Field Renewal Program document would be taken to the advisory committee every fall, to identify the projects for the upcoming year. There will likely be an updated document in September as the city plans its 2024 capital projects.