A popular sports field in southeast Winnipeg is in line for some major improvements set to be funded by next year’s city budget.
In light of years of wear and tear, it was recently announced that Art McOuat Memorial Park, located at 910 Maginot St., has been identified as a priority site for rehabilitation work in 2014. Officials say improvements identified for the mixed-use site include regrading, crowning and resodding work to allow for the installation of two full-sized playing pitches.
"The park has been identified as a priority by city administration and myself based on the usage it currently receives, its central location and the fact it is badly in need of repairs," Coun. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) said.
Vandal said the mixed-use nature of the facility means numerous sporting groups in the southeast portion of the city will benefit from a future makeover.
"I am pleased to see that these much-needed upgrades will benefit not only the citizens of St. Boniface, but also users visiting from other areas," he said, noting Art McOuat was a local city councillor in the 1960s.
"The improvements are also important because this is a well-used athletic field that plays host to football, soccer, and sometimes, lacrosse. Youth soccer teams in Windsor Park will benefit, as will football teams from the St. Boniface and St. Vital areas. And, of course, local community members will benefit, too."
In a news release, officials say the city’s 2014 preliminary budget calls for an $800,000 increase in funding to improve athletic fields from an annual budget of $200,000 to $1 million.
Beyond the southeast, athletic fields in other areas of the city are also slated for upgrades and repairs to grass surfaces and equipment, such as goalposts and players’ benches. The recommended improvements come, in part, due to feedback from community organizations.
When the city raised athletic field fees last year, sports associations reported that some city fields were in need of significant upgrades, officials say.
At press time, the funding proposal was scheduled to be tabled at an executive policy committee meeting on Nov. 29 and is still needs to be rubber-stamped by city council on Dec. 17.