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Conestogo Park to get a makeover

Long overdue upgrades are coming to the park in Conestogo. An unusable tennis court will be replaced, joined by a new multi-use sports pad that will serve as a hockey rink, in both summer and winter, and a basketball court.

Meeting this week, Woolwich councillors approved spending $336,000 to make the project happen.

The project calls for a refurbished tennis court and a multi-use pad with rink boards that will allow for all-year use. Along with the boards, there would be new hockey and basketball nets, and all of the applicable ground markings. The playing areas would be surrounded by a new chain-link fence. As well, the project calls for new light standards and lamps, perimeter fencing and other site improvements.

The scale of the project is contingent on the final arrangement with Endure Sports Management Inc., chosen from among two applicants who responded to the township’s request for proposals (RFP) for overhauling the Evening Star Lane park.

The $336,000 expenditure is well above the $130,000 initially budgeted, though that figure was something of a placeholder, covering only the projected cost of replacing the rundown tennis court. The township has $87,000 set aside in its budget, with another $43,000 coming from the Conestogo Recreation Association, representing one-third of the budgeted cost, the community’s typical share of recreation projects.

The bulk of the money, some $206,000, will be taken from the infrastructure reserve fund, director of finance Richard Petherick told councillors meeting Tuesday night.

On the community side, the rec. association has $25,000 on hand, with the remaining $18,000 pledge by the Conestogo-Winterbourne Optimist Club. Petherick said, based on past dealings with the Optimist Club, he’s confident the money will be raised and turned over to the township within the 2014-2015 timeframe.

“I think it will be money well spent,” said Mayor Todd Cowan of the project, noting the multi-use pad gives the community flexibility should preferences shift in the future.

For Ward 3 Coun. Bonnie Bryant, the improvements are long overdue.

“This is a community that’s been without a park in good condition for many, many years,” she said.

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