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Wet conditions create challenges in getting fields ready, keeping them in good shape

This was the view from William Street in Yarmouth Friday morning of the waterlogged outfield at Gateway Park.
This was the view from William Street in Yarmouth Friday morning of the waterlogged outfield at Gateway Park. - Contributed

Among those affected by the recent wet weather have been people using – or hoping to use – local sports fields.

Contacted Friday morning, as the region was getting soaked again, Frank Grant, director of Yarmouth Recreation, said May tends to be a rainy time, “but it seems like we’ve got double or triple the amount this year ... It slows everybody’s plans down because usually (by) the end of April, as soon as the weather breaks, everyone wants to be on fields.”

The Yarmouth-area fields already had opened for the season prior to the May 24 downpour.

The last of the fields to open, just two or three days earlier, were the ballfields that are part of Broad Brook Park (Veterans and Mariners fields), “but now,” Grant said, “with all the water, we’re back to cancelling and just hoping that we get a couple of days in a row to reassess, but when we get heavy rains like this, it’s just a waiting game.”

The fields at the Hebron Recreation Complex, which usually dry out pretty well, he said, were the first of the Yarmouth-area fields to open for 2019.

Bob Powell, recreation director in Digby, said their fields have yet to open.

Reached on May 23, he too acknowledged this can be a rainy time of year, although this one has been particularly soggy.

“We’ve had more rain than normal,” he said. “We had a wet spring last year, but this was even wetter.”

He cited their baseball field as an example of how the rain has impacted their preparations for the season.

“We wanted to do a little bit of work around home plate,” Powell said, “so we dug it up because we were placing clay in there and we can’t compact the clay because it’s too wet.”

He estimated they were at least 10 days behind, as far as opening the field is concerned, due to all the rain.

He knows plenty of ball players are looking forward to being able to use it.

“They’re all anxious,” he said. “We have a men’s league, we have old-timers, we have minor baseball, plus we have the school, so (the field) is fairly busy, but, unfortunately, we just couldn’t put them on it.”

As for Digby’s soccer fields, they have not opened either, but then they’re not needed yet anyway. Work has been done to get them ready for the new season, Powell said, and it’s good to keep them closed until then.

Meanwhile, in another part of the tri-counties, Anna Kenney, recreation director with the Municipality of Barrington, said this spring’s rain delayed them a bit, but it hadn’t been a big issue.

“We just do (the preparatory work) when we can,” she said.

Interviewed on May 23, she said their fields were being used.

“Sometimes, when we have a downpour, infields might get flooded out a little bit, but nothing major,” she said. “It’s just a matter of draining it, maybe adding a little bit more soil, topsoil, to the infield.”

Like her counterparts in other areas of the tri-counties, she says spring weather tends to be wet, so you make the most of your opportunities.

Said Grant, referring to this spring’s rain, “It’s been kind of frustrating, but I guess there’s not much you can do when you’re dealing with Mother Nature.”

He says sports groups that show up at a field for a workout are asked to stay off of it if they see the ground is too soggy and the field is susceptible to damage. Generally, he says, groups are good about staying off fields that are too wet to be used.

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