By Stew Slater
Residents of 85 homes in the vicinity of Cadzow Park received handouts last Thursday, encouraging them to provide input into the proposed construction of an “X-park” for skateboarding and BMX biking on the land currently occupied by the former Friendship Centre/Youth Centre.
“We’ve already begun to receive feedback from the public. So that’s a positive, no matter whether they’re in favour (of locating the proposed facility at Cadzow Park) or not. People are happy to respond,” reported Town of St. Marys Special Projects Coordinator Jenna McCarthy, on Friday afternoon.
The Town has been approved for a $60,000 Trillium Foundation grant from the Ontario government for the X-park. But at a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 2, McCarthy informed Town Council that the Trillium money must be used by June 30, 2013. At that meeting, Council agreed to make a final decision on the facility’s location on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
The handout to area residents requested that all feedback — by email at cadzowxpark@town. stmarys. on.ca or by phone at 519-284-2340, ext. 212 — be provided by Friday, Oct. 19. McCarthy notes the request has also been placed on the town’s website, and other members of the public are encouraged to provide their perspectives.
“Once that period of public input is done, a report will be put together with the pros and cons, and that will be provided to Council for their meeting on the 23rd.”
McCarthy stresses that the discussion about the X-park is not meant to have any bearing on discussions about the future of Cadzow Pool or other elements of the park. And the information provided to area residents, although it included a graphic representation of a skateboarding facility in place of the existing former Friendship Centre, is not necessarily the only option for locating the X-park at Cadzow. Depending on public feedback and other factors, it’s possible a different version of the X-park could be constructed on the Town-owned property.
An earlier proposal was to locate the X-park near the fire hall. But at the Oct. 2 meeting, councillors granted tentative approval to instead pursue the Cadzow site.
One factor contributing to both location and scope of the project could be cost. At the Oct. 2 meeting, McCarthy told councillors the Trillium Foundation grant, plus the contributions raised in a months-long, community-based fundraising campaign, plus a commitment from Town Council, give the project a current financial basis of approximately $122,000. The original Trillium grant application cited a construction cost of $150,000. With in-kind donations yet to be clarified, the fundraising campaign still ongoing, and some possible funding from other grant programs, McCarthy expressed confidence the town will eventually secure the $150,000 total.