New plaza underway in Lewis Park to acknowledge community member, sport safety

A way to acknowledge a tragic sporting event in the community while remembering sports safety are the factors behind a new plaza coming to Lewis Park.

Dave Snider, director of recreation and cultural services for the City of Courtenay said the plaza is being constructed at the concession area near Diamond One of the park. The project will also improve drainage, safety and accessibility.

“We were approached by the former Field of Dreams Society who wanted to donate money to ball improvements. Also, (the area) was an area of improvement after some trees came down, so it was an opportunity to marry a few ideas together.”

RELATED: Vigil for injured Comox Valley slo-pitch player ends tragically

The Comox Valley Fields of Dreams Society, which dissolved in 2017, donated $10,000 towards the project in that same year to the city with a memorandum of understanding the funds would be used towards a project in line with their mandate.

Their objective, explained former society member Steve Morgan, was to fundraise for the construction and maintenance of a multi-use recreational facility in the Valley. While no longer in existence, he said the society also donated to the athletic fields in Union Bay and for the construction of benches for minor league baseball in Comox.

The plaza will feature the insignia, ‘Never Forget #9.’ The tribute acknowledges the tragic event of August 2017 when local father, husband, son, brother and friend, Chris Godfrey, sustained a head injury during a slo-pitch game at Lewis Park and later lost his life.

Snider said initially the City was looking to place public art in the area but then talked about the insignia and its significance to sports safety.

The Comox Valley Slo-Pitch League has now made helmets mandatory within the league. Helmets can be seen with “Never Forget #9”, which has inspired the insignia.

He added the project took about a year and a half from initial design and consultation to construction phase, and should be open in mid-to-late September.

There will be an official opening for the plaza once construction is complete, but Snider said the exact date is yet to be finalized.

In addition to the funds provided by the former Comox Valley Fields of Dreams Society, Tayco Paving will be discounting their work in memory of Godfrey.

The finished plaza will be approximately 20 square metres. There may be minor parking impacts during construction.

For more information, contact the Recreation and Cultural Services Department, or 250-334-4441.

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