'Gathering space' to replace 2 baseball diamonds at Waterloo Park
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:34PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:27PM EDT
Within a few years, Waterloo Park will home to a public space like no other in the city – and that has big implications for one of its current uses.
Two of the park’s four baseball diamonds are expected to be decommissioned by 2020.
City officials say they’re looking at alternate locations to fill the void the diamonds’ closure would leave in Waterloo’s baseball facilities. One possibility is to upgrade existing diamonds in the Eastbridge and Laurelwood neighbourhoods.
People living near those fields have voiced concerns about what such a plan would mean for traffic and parking in the areas, as well as about foul balls potentially causing damage.
City officials say fields in those neighbourhoods would not be used by any organized baseball groups with players older than age 13.
“We wouldn’t be wanting adults to play on those sites,” said John Griffin, the city’s project manager.
Once a solution is found for the baseball diamonds, the city plans to transform that part of Waterloo Park into a new space for festivals and other communities.
“What we want is for this to be a real gathering space for the community,” said Coun. Melissa Durrell.
“Waterloo is an amazing, vibrant community, and we need a place for us to gather and celebrate.”
According to Durrell, the redone space would be big enough to hold several thousand people – meaning some of the city’s more popular festivals could be moved there.
The issue is expected to go before city councillors in June.
With reporting by Marc Venema