'The stars have aligned': City to renovate Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex

In 2019, the city attempted to close the pool at Adie Knox. The new city plan will upgrade the facility, but close the pool and move classes to the new pool at the Lancer Centre and the Aquatic Centre.

Project includes partnership with University of Windsor for shared community use of Lancer Centre pool

The City of Windsor has announced plans to expand and renovate the Adie Knox Recreation Centre. Members of the public can provide input through an online survey until June 15. (CBC/Darrin Di Carlo)

The City of Windsor is asking for public input as it moves to upgrade the Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens announced at a news conference on Tuesday that the city is committing $42 million toward the project.

"The stars have aligned, and we are keen to make a massive investment at Adie Knox," Dilkens said in a statement. "With the plans for the Grace Hospital site and recently approved University Avenue West CIP, we need to renew Adie Knox for the next generation of users."

Exactly what the renewal will entail is yet to be determined. To that end, the city has launched a public consultation process, giving residents an opportunity to make suggestions via an online survey.

The city said the project will include new services and community spaces, which may include a gymnasium, splash pad, dance studio, tennis or pickleball courts, a basketball court, and an indoor and outdoor walking track. The pool would close, but the ice rink would remain open.

University partnership

The city also announced it was partnering with the University of Windsor to allow for shared community use of the new Lancer Centre pool, which is located about one kilometre from Adie Knox.

The tentative agreement — which still needs to be ratified by city council — would accommodate 93 per cent of existing Adie Knox pool bookings, with the remainder being relocated to the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre.

The Lancer Centre is still under construction. The University of Windsor and the city of Windsor have a tentative agreement to allow city pool users to use the pool at the Lancer Centre once it opens. (CBC/Darrin Di Carlo)

City residents using the Lancer pool would receive complimentary parking, and city pool members would be usable at the Lancer pool, as well, the city said.

If approved by council, the agreement would see the city pay an up-front capital contribution of $3 million to the university, as well as an annual operating subsidy of $200,000. The city said the subsidy amount is less than the cost of operating a separate swimming pool at Adie Knox.

The city said it was aiming to secure $13.5 million of the project's cost through the federal government's Green and Inclusive Community Building Fund grant. However, Dilkens said he's committed to completing the project with or without federal funding.

"Let me be absolutely clear," he said at Tuesday's news conference. "We need to undertake this investment in west end infrastructure, and I am committed to getting this $42 million renovation to Adie Knox completed, regardless of the success of our application to the federal government's program."

"Funding support from Ottawa would mean that this investment in Adie Knox would happen sooner, and if we don't succeed, then we may need to phase the construction over time," Dilkens said."But it will just be a matter of time before this upgrade occurs."

Renovations needed

The project is necessary as Adie Knox, which was built in 1970, is in need of major renovations if the pool is to be brought up to code, said Jen Knights, executive director of recreation and culture the for the city of Windsor.

There are issues, she said, with the facility's heating, ventilation, air conditioning, as well as the pool tank, deck, filers, pumps, and other parts of the complex.

In 2019, Windsor residents pushed back against a draft recreation master plan recommendation to "reimagine" the Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex. After three hours of discussion, city councillors ultimately decided to approve most of the recommendations in that recreation master plan, but agreed to keep the Adie Knox pool and ice rink open.

A timeline for the project is not yet available.

The Adie Knox public consultation survey is available on the City of Windsor website until June 15.


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