Town council to take a look at Centennial Park tennis courts and track at budget

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The tennis courts and track at Centennial Park may be upgraded, but it won’t be until at least 2014 before anything happens.

Town council followed a recommendation from director of recreation and culture Dean Collver to put off the track project until the 2014 budget. However, a report to upgrade the tennis courts and basketball courts was also shelved until next year’s budget deliberations despite an opportunity to take it to tender after the Oct. 7 meeting.

Collver’s report to council recommended the reduction of tennis courts from five to two with the courts having a “high-impact polypropylene copolymer construction” with contrasting colours. That would occur on top of a new base underneath the courts.

Removal and replacement of the fence would occur “to appropriately enclose the facility and improve the look and wear ability of the fence.” Should the project proceed as outlined, the fence would be locked to protect the facility from vandalism and wear and tear when not in use.

Collver did anticipate drop-in times for the public to use them, should the project eventually be approved.

New net posts would also be added and enough room would be left along the courts to put in two small sets of bleachers.

Collver noted he has been in consultation with the AMA Tennis and Badminton Club and the Greater Essex County District School Board during the process.

The basketball courts would also have the same type of polypropylene surface in contrasting colours with four new basketball “systems” with clear acrylic backboards, new rims and nets and remediation of the fence for appearance and wear ability.

Councillor Diane Pouget wondered if reducing the number of tennis courts to two would satisfy curriculum requirements for physical education students at General Amherst High School. Pouget also asked if there would be any funding forthcoming in light of the fact Amherstburg is co-hosting the Ontario 55+ Summer Games in 2014.

“My understanding is for curriculum purposes, two courts is all they require,” said Collver.

As for the question over funding from the Ontario 55+ Summer Games, Collver said tennis will be hosted in Windsor with Amherstburg’s tennis facilities not being used.

Councillor John Sutton said he was opposed to proceeding with the tennis and basketball court refurbishment at the present time. He noted it would be paid for totally through debt financing.

Councillor Bob Pillon wondered if there were funding opportunities available including grants but Collver said he was not aware of any grants for projects such as this.

Collver did not that while existing light standards would be used, there could still be a reduction in hydro costs as fewer would be needed.

Town council had budgeted $250,000 in the 2013 budget but after soil and geotechnical investigation of the track, Collver stated the consultant found “the asphalt concrete substrate is now unreliable and will continue to deteriorate. Increasing annual maintenance is not a viable option and it is recommended by CT Soil that the existing asphalt and granular base be wasted with a complete reconstruction of the pavement and drainage system.”

New projections of the budget now sit at approximately $350,000, said Collver.

Roughly $2,700 of “spot repairs” have been undertaken to keep it open as a walking and jogging track “in the short term” with administration monitoring the track and trying to mitigate “ongoing risk from its continued deterioration.”

Collver said he has had positive discussions with the public school board about trying to obtain funding and said he had “no problem with continuing dialogue” with them.

Pillon suggested trying to find a sponsor to purchase naming rights and wanted all avenues of obtaining funds are kept open.

 

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