Karen Vandenberg, nee Davis, stands next to the Imai Ball Park bleacher sign, which looks exactly how she painted it more than 40 years ago. (Photo contributed)

Former Shuswap woman surprised to find ballpark sign stands test of time

Recent visit to Scotch Creek’s Imai Ball Park a rewarding homecoming for Karen Vandenberg

While much has changed in the Shuswap over the past four decades, Karen Vandenberg was surprised to find a part of her youth still stands at Scotch Creek’s Imai Ball Park.

A former resident of Celista, Vandenberg, née Davis, and her husband Garret were recently in the Shuswap for her 40th grad reunion. As it had been a long time since Karen had been in the area, the two decided to drive through the North Shuswap to see what changes had taken place.

“We passed the Scotch Creek provincial park and rounded the corner where the old mini golf used to be, when Karen piped up and said, ‘Oh my gosh, they haven’t changed my writing at the ball park, it’s still the same,’” says Garret.

In 1977, at age 15, Karen and four others, Brad Dueck, Brad Myers, Tony Rathbone and Garth Shuttleworth, built bleachers, fencing, etc. at the ball park on land donated by the Imai family. Karen was given the job of painting the Imai Ball Park sign on the side of the bleachers.

“Oh, I wish they’d let me do a better job,” Karen joked with Garret, who laughed and replied, “It must be good because it’s sure stood the test of time.”

The ball park is maintained by the Imai Ball Park Foundation. In May 2018, the group’s volunteers upgraded timber on the stands, replaced fencing and completed some other repair work.

The Vandenbergs were pleased to see the park so well maintained – Karen’s handiwork included.

“It’s nice to see some things never change,” said Karen and Garret.


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Brad Dueck, Brad Myers, Tony Rathbone, Garth Shuttleworth and Karen Davis sit on the Imai Ball Park bleachers they constructed in 1977. (Photo contributed)

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