The city is set to finalize the purchase of a 10-acre brownfield site — expected to be the old Consumers Glass property — for a new outdoor sports facility in the lower city later this week.
After months of negotiation, the city expects to close the deal for an $8-million project for the Pan Am precinct that will replace the former Brian Timmis field. The property will also have playgrounds and green space.
'The bottom line is it’s a large new park in an area of the city that’s deficient of park land.' - Paul Johnson, director of neighbourhood and community relations
Paul Johnson, the city’s director of neighbourhood and community relations, wouldn't confirm the location, but concedes that it is “probably the worst kept secret in the area.” He also couldn’t disclose the purchase price. But for the deal itself, the city is anxious to “sing it from the rooftops.”
“We’re really excited about it,” he said. “The bottom line is it’s a large new park in an area of the city that’s deficient of park land.”
The outdoor sports facility is part of about $25 million in new government investment in the Pan Am precinct. In December, one month before his death from cancer, Coun. Bernie Morelli announced the project for Ward 3 to a standing ovation from council.
“I have worked my entire career to serve my community and I am overwhelmed that we have been able to finally make this happen,” said Morelli, who represented the area for 22 years.
Brian Timmis field, adjacent to the former Ivor Wynne stadium, was lost as part of the new stadium construction.
The former glass plant is located north of Barton Street and west of Gage. The money will come from various pots of money, including area rating and development fees, which means no impact to the general tax levy, Coun. Sam Merulla said at December's announcement.
Any necessary remediation has been factored into the budget, Johnson said.
“I can tell you it’s a significant investment both to acquire that size of property and obviously some of the work that needs to be done to get it ready.”
The city is meeting with residents to finalize what will be in the site. There’s no set timeline, Johnson said, although he’d like to have it done in three years.
The new facility will be near a new $140-million Tim Horton’s Field stadium. The city is also building a new seniors centre, which will be named after Morelli in the neighbourhood. The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board plans to build a new high school nearby.
“When you look at the purpose of Pan Am, this is really what the legacy is,” said Merulla, who worked on the project. “It’s not so much that we’re going to have a stadium for the Tiger-Cats, but the development that’s part of the continued renaissance of east Hamilton.
“This is just one piece of that puzzle that will create assessment growth, investment and confidence.”