For nearly a decade, members of the Heidelberg recreation committee have been pushing for a new field house at the community park on Lobsinger Line.
Now, with approval from the Township of Woolwich and applications pending for a pair of lucrative grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, members of the committee are optimistic the facility will be built in 2016.
“We’ve got a big push on now to try to get this done,” Scott McGregor said. “We’ve got the approval from council and now we just need to collect the (required funds) and get the approval from Wellesley council.”
Heidelberg is in the unique position of being split between both Wellesley and Woolwich townships, with Kressler Road marking the border. While the community park and the site of the new field house are in Woolwich, much of the community’s population – and property tax base – live in Wellesley.
To bridge the gap, the recreation committee is looking to each township to cover one third of the cost of the new facility, with the final third coming from committee fundraising and the two large grants that they are hoping will come through this fall.
But the recreation committee has seen grant money pass them by, including last year’s Trillium funds. So this time around, they have made sure to do everything they can to make sure their pitch is compelling.
“The efforts of the people before me on this committee and the efforts of the people now are pretty outstanding,” McGregor said, noting the group has raised some $40,000-50,000 for the project through numerous fundraising campaigns. “Nobody is being paid for any of this. This is 100 per cent volunteering your time and they’re not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the community as well as their own kids who enjoy the park. It’s really just about making a difference.”
Last month, McGregor and the recreation committee got a number of families together at the park to make a video explaining why a new facility is important. Geared towards the KWCF, the committee has already seen donations and support come in from people across the townships.
The existing booth in the park is a total disaster, McGregor said. The back half of the building, including the washrooms, has been condemned because the roof is caving in. The only use for the structure right now is to store some basic maintenance equipment and to provide shelter for the well line. But it is not a safe facility.
Drawings have been procured for the new field house, which features a community room, a kitchenette and handicap accessible washrooms.
The recreation committee isn’t looking for frills, McGregor said, rather, just a basic facility that can really enhance a well used and appreciated park.
“I got into this because I would play ball at the diamond and my kids were playing at the park and skating at the rink in the winter,” McGregor said. “The goal of this is to make a building that is ascetically pleasing, that kind of reflects the country aspect of the community and something that is going to meet the needs of everybody, so accessible washrooms is a big thing; and even just having washrooms will be great. And the community room will be great because it will give seniors, for example, a place where they can meet and play cards. Or even kids’ parties.”
The budget for the field house is expected to be between $300,000-400,000, McGregor said.
“The existing booth should’ve been replaced years ago,” he noted. “Now, we want to put in place a facility that will last for generations. It’s a little thing, but it’s the little things that really make a difference. if we can build a place where the kids and seniors and the whole community can go and have some fellowship with the people that they live with, that’s really what it’s all about.”