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Wellesley asked to support new rec. facility in Heidelberg park

Rec. association wants the township to contribute to replacement of field house on Woolwich side of the line

The field house in Heidelberg Community Park is looking worse for wear. Now, Wellesley Township is being asked to foot a third of the bill to construct a small building in place of the crumbling white structure.

“Two years ago one of our members leaned against the wall and the wall moved, so we know that it has to be done,” said Bev Baechler, executive assistant at the Township of Woolwich and former association president, told councillors meeting Tuesday.

A proposal for the project was brought to Woolwich council in October.

“We have old plumbing, … the equipment room is in sad shape: the electrical boxes all over, and as the committee changes people don’t know what all of the boxes are for. There’s no storage for keeping things safe,” Baechler said of the deficiencies.

A new facility would be an equipment room and field house, with the possibility of a meeting room for small events. In the past 24 years the recreation association has been making changes and additions to the community park through fundraising, not township funds, Baechler noted.

The association wants to have accessible washrooms this time around.

“Right now our [building] has an issue with accessibility because it has steps to get in, a small hallway, and you can’t maneuver a wheelchair into the washrooms.”

A preliminary drawing, rendered by a board member, was presented to Wellesley councillors, though designs for the project are still pending.

“What we are asking for is that you give us some consideration to help us with the replacement.”

The plan is to split the cost of the project evenly between the recreation association and the two townships which share a border in Heidelberg. Approximately $25,000 has been raised so far with the hope for future corporate sponsorship and other fundraising. In keeping with Woolwich’s policy for community contribution to new facilities, construction of a replacement building won’t start until the association collects their third of the funds. So far the recreation association believes the total cost may amount to $210,000 though formal estimates are still to come.

The park property is owned by the Township of Woolwich but was purchased as a three-way split between Wellesley, Woolwich and the Heidelberg community. Wellesley also contributed to playground restoration on Woolwich property in 2002. Baechler noted Woolwich’s park is the only nearby green space for Heidelberg’s Wellesley residents.

“It’s been told to us several times that we have St. Clements just down the road; we are not looking for an arena, we are not looking for a community centre. But we want a safe place for our children to be able to go and play at a park,” she said.

“I’m thankful you are not asking for 2014 because I’m looking at this year and our capital expenditures are going to be pretty much all maintenance, some things that have been put off due to funding. The reserves are small reserves right now, we’ll need a year or two to build those up again,” said director of facilities Brad Voisin.

“For us to say we will contribute one third … of what?” asked Coun. Jim Olender, adding that the next step would be for the recreation association to come up with a more concrete price for the project.

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