Athletic parks due for multimillion dollar facelifts
Glenmore Athletic Park at 50th Avenue and 19th Street S.W. and Foothills Athletic Park at University Drive and 24th Avenue N.W. are both in line for a 10-year redevelopment pegged to cost around $450 miillion.
"The buildings on both those sites are for the most part well past their life cycles," said Shelley Shea, the city's manager of arenas and athletic parks. "Both Glenmore and Foothills have facilities that are very old, 40- to 50-year-old facilities."
The "conceptual master plans" for the parks call for improved tennis courts, soccer fields — with the addition of artificial turf on some — and running tracks, as well as new indoor field spaces and basketball courts.
At the Glenmore park, the city's plan calls for improvements to the cycling velodrome, the Glenmore Aquatic Centre and a new ice rink at the Stu Peppard Arena.
But more of the investment should go towards soccer fields than tennis courts, according to Stephen Wellsteed, who coaches boys' soccer.
"We'd love to see soccer fields. There's a real shortage. When you compare us to Edmonton, we're so far behind," he said.
"Tennis players? You can go to any public tennis court in the summer and they're virtually empty. So I'm just not sure that's money well spent."
Tennis player Carl Ringdahl said his sport always takes a back seat to soccer and softball when it comes to public investment in Calgary.
"The city hasn't kept up the tennis courts for the last 20 years," he said.
Keeping all the user groups happy is a delicate balancing act, according to Shea, who said representatives from all the affected sports are being consulted as the plans move forward.
Drawings for the Glenmore park were displayed at an open house Tuesday at the South Calgary community association.
The plans for the Foothills facilities will be shown to the public Wednesday night at an open house at University School, 3035 Utah Drive N.W., from 6 until 8 p.m.
The proposals could go before city council in June, according to Shea.