There are kids sliding, jumping and climbing.
The final touches were put on the Al Boucher Memorial playground over the weekend and it is now open for public use.
Al Boucher was a well-known member of the Salmon Arm community who died in a car accident on Friday, Feb.17.
He was the former owner of the Blue Canoe Bakery &Café, president of the Salmon Arm’s Slo-Pitch League, as well as an active member of the community.
During his tenure as Salmon Arm’s Slo-Pitch League’s president, he worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the quality of the ball facility. As a father of two young boys, one of his many goals was to create a safe and fun environment for children to play while their parents were playing or watching baseball at the Canoe ball diamonds.
There has never been any playground infrastructure in place at these fields, deterring many adults with young families from joining the league. Children would usually resort to playing on an unstable dirt hill, which was both unsafe and difficult for parents to supervise.
A GoFundMe page was created after Boucher’s death, and the response was immediate and overwhelming – within a few weeks, more than $10,000 was raised.
The Salmar Community Association then came through with a $15,000 grant and Dinoflex committed to donating 900 square feet of rubber play tiles, at a value of over $12,000.
As organizers neared the build date, many more local businesses donated product, equipment and even meals.
“The community involvement has been truly spectacular,” says organizer Sheena Haines.
On Friday, Sept. 15, with the help of approximately 30 people, the playground equipment was installed.
This past weekend, the last step required to make the area safe for children was finished with the installation of the Dinoflex tiles.
“This project meant so much to Al, and it means the world to us that miss him so much – every time we go to play ball at Canoe we have that reminder there of all he did and worked for, and how much this will help to make the ball fields a more family friendly environment,” says Haines.
Next year the committee plans to move on to the next phases of this memorial project – covering the playground as protection from foul balls and inclement weather.
“Al never stopped working to enhance the league, to better our fields, and to promote the sport – it is our commitment now is to honour that legacy and to keep pushing as we know he would have,” says Haines.