The local Boston Pizza franchise is delivering a hefty slice of dough to the new Ashley Neufeld Softball Complex.
On Thursday, the franchise will donate $100,000 to the project, being built on Parker Boulevard between Eighth Street North and 11th Street North.
"Our store has a team in a Wednesday night recreational league and has for over 10 years," franchise owner Dean Esler said. "We knew when they approached us that this is the perfect project to contribute to."
Plans include four full-sized diamonds and a learn-to-play quad with four mini-diamonds, said construction chair Chris Johnston.
The grading process for the diamonds began last month and is expected to finish next week.
"We have had companies bringing in fill for the area over the last three years," Johnston said. "But having work started shows the community that this project is in progress."
The completed complex is estimated to cost $820,000. With the donation from Esler and Boston Pizza, the total raised so far will be $278,000.
"We have had lots of people interested in donating, but were skeptical because the work had not started," Johnston said. "The donation from Boston Pizza will help us to put up the fencing by the end of July and hopefully that will encourage donors."
The first phase of work will develop two regular-sized diamonds along with the fencing, pump systems and electrical for the rest of the complex. This phase is expected to cost $580,000.
The second phase will finish the other two diamonds and learn-to-play quad for $240,000.
The donation being made by Boston Pizza is the largest to the complex to date, and the company will have a diamond named for it.
"It is nice to have the name there, but that is not why we are donating," Esler said. "Brandon needs more baseball diamonds and these are not just for adults, the small diamonds really make this for the whole family."
Boston Pizza owner and chairman Jim Treliving will be present for the donation.
"Although the donation is on behalf of this franchise, we timed it so that Jim would be able to attend," Esler said.
Treliving will be in Brandon to receive an honorary diploma from Assiniboine Community College.
The complex is being built in memory of Ashley Neufeld of Brandon, who drowned along with two Dickinson State University softball teammates after their SUV sank into a farmer’s watering hole while on a stargazing trip in North Dakota in 2009.
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