July 31, 2017
Goderich, a town of 8,000 has a long standing history of spirit and passion for sports and recreation. For many years, we have had a strong base of volunteerism which allows our Town to have sustainable minor sports organizations that provide for the youth in our area. Our passion for sports stems back as early as our Towns founding 190 years ago, where you can see old pictures of men in their suits playing baseball or curling, and women dressed finely, playing tennis or basketball. Many things have changed over the years, but what has remained the same is our very strong commitment to sports. Over and above our minor sports organizations, Goderich is a very active community for all ages with numerous activities to choose from. We have over 3,000 members at our Maitland Recreation Centre. Additionally, we have a strong outdoor tradition with activities such as hiking, cycling, swimming, fishing, walking to just name a few. In 2004 our Community passion was on full display where the "Mind and Body Campaign" raised money for our Town to build a state of the art Community Centre with an Ice Rink, Gymnasium, Pool, Walking Track and Workout Area, along with improvements to our Library. The Maitland Recreation Centre continues to be a huge source of community pride and has become our main "gathering" place especially during the winter months in Hockey season. Again, our Community passion was on display for all to see as we entered Hockeyville in 2012 and again, for Hockey Goes On in 2013. How our Community came together for these contests were truly amazing! They are the best experiences that I have ever had in Volunteering in my Community of Goderich!!! Kraft Heinz Project Play provides me once again with that awesome feeling through our "PLAY ON NEW GROUND" Community effort to win the Project Play Grand Prize. If successful, the money will be invested in upgrading our "worse-for-wear" summer facilities at Goderich Recreation Park (Ag Park). This will support new facilities for Baseball, Soccer, Field Hockey, Skatepark, Play Ground as well as Shelters and basic amenities. For our summer Minor Sports organizations to be as strong as they are on these completely outdated facilities, is truly amazing and a testament to the Strong Passion and Spirit we have for the youth of our Community.
"GODERICH RECREATION PARK REVITALIZATION PROJECT"!!!!!! Let's all "PLAY ON NEW GROUND" with Kraft Heinz in Project Play!!! In Goderich, we have a Recreation Park (Ag Park, is the current name) in the middle of town where we have 2 Baseball Diamonds and a Soccer Pitch. These are the main Diamonds and Pitch for our Minor Sports and have become our greatest sources of embarrassment for our Sporting Community. These facilities are completely outdated and in very poor condition because of little to no investment over the past 40 years. Ag Park, for years has been rumoured to be updated but the rumours always came and passed. In the early 2000's, we had fundraising for our "Mind and Body Campaign" for our Community Centre that opened in 2004. Then in 2011, as a result of the F3 Tornado that devastated our Town, funds were simply not there to upgrade this space. We needed the money to go elsewhere to re-build after the massive destruction that decimated the core of our beautiful Town. Now here in 2017, we are finally going to get the proper facilities that will make us proud in Goderich! Construction is starting this Fall after the Ball/Soccer season is over. The current space at Ag Park is getting a complete makeover. This will be the first work to be done since 1977, as you can see in the pictures, it really is showing its age. Currently there are No washrooms with running water (just 2 Porta-Johns); No Playground; No Skatepark; No Shelter; No Storage with electricity; No dugouts on one diamond; No drainage; and most of all NO PRIDE in our Facility! Because of the lack of basic facilities, we no longer host any Minor Baseball Tournaments (Teams don't want to come). Adult Tournaments face additional financial hardship as they have to provide these items (shelters, generators, extra portables) just to have basic functions. On top of the lack of basic facilities, the drainage is plugged (pictures attached) and the smallest amounts of rain cause us to cancel games and practices due to the diamonds flooding. The Soccer Pitch has many grooves/ruts so bad that our Soccer Players have incurred injuries. Lighting is outdated and a huge health and safety concern (light standards in the field of play). Our Men's High School Baseball team refuse to play on our Hardball Diamond due to "safety concerns". The ball diamond surface is very poor and ground balls have caused many injuries to our Players with errant bounces because of the stones and grooves in the playing field. For the past 3-4 years, I wanted to nominate Goderich in Project Play as our Park desperately needs improvement. However, I had to wait until the Revitalization of the Park was going to be happening to ensure that all dollars would be going to maximize the proposed upgrades to the Park. The plan is to construct 3 official Baseball/Softball Diamonds, with proper seating for fans, covered shelters for all, covered dugouts and a batting cage. The proposal further includes constructing a new Soccer/Field Hockey/Multipurpose Pitch, again with seating and lights with proper drainage. A new Skatepark will be built adjacent to the new Children's Playground. We will also have a Pavilion to host Tournaments that will include accessible washrooms with hot and running water, storage areas, and a canteen. This is a HUGE community project! If we are fortunate to be the Grand Prize Winner, we would ensure that Kraft Heinz Project Play would be recognized!
The impact of this project is already being felt within our Community. There is a sense of excitement and also a feeling of "dis-belief" with our residents. They almost don't believe that it is going to happen, because for over 20 years there has been discussion about Ag Park and the improvements needed. YES! IT'S HAPPENING! AND WE CAN'T BE MORE EXCITED!!!! With the last real investment in the Park being over 40 years ago, you can imagine the eager anticipation present in our Community; it's almost too good to be true! Adding an extra Diamond to the Baseball Complex. along with sun/rain shelters , and a Pavilion will have a very large impact on our Baseball Community. We are having some real struggles with Diamond times and some of our Teams have had to leave Goderich to seek diamond time. Minor Baseball has grown over 120% in the past 6 years, we are in dire need of imporvements and the addition of a diamond in our Town. The Skatepark is very exciting for our Community! This will be the first real Skatepark that will enable users to be safer than using the streets or the Courthouse steps or the Harbour hill. Our Soccer/Multipurpose Pitch will hand an enormous impact on the Community with the hosting of Tournaments for Soccer to Field Hockey with proper lighting and fencing. Instead of the Ag Park field being the last field to be scheduled on, it will turn into the "flagship" field in our Region. The Impact of this project is already happening, and we want Kraft Heinz to be a major part of it!!! As we get closer to the construction start date, the excitement is building. We are getting a New Recreation Park in Goderich, and one that we can be proud of!!!