Lo­cal sports fa­cil­i­ties get ma­jor up­grade

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRAM DINSHAW

Pro­po­nents of the Truro Am­a­teur Ath­letic Club are launch­ing a ma­jor fundrais­ing drive this month to pay for a new ball di­a­mond and track fields.

Es­ti­mated cost of ren­o­vat­ing the club’s fa­cil­i­ties is $5 mil­lion, but project man­ager Brian Wood says that in-kind do­na­tions from busi­nesses for such things as elec­tri­cal work, can bring down the fi­nal price.

“I’m not at all in­tim­i­dated or con­cerned about us rais­ing these funds,” said Wood.

The TAAC Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Com­mit­tee is launch­ing a three­p­ronged fundrais­ing ef­fort in­clud­ing grass-roots col­lec­tions from sport­ing as­so­ci­a­tions us­ing the grounds, cor­po­rate nam­ing rights through spon­sor­ships and in-kind do­na­tions from busi­nesses, in­clud­ing both ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion ser­vices.

The planned TAAC ren­o­va­tions in­clude con­vert­ing the ex­ist­ing field into a multi-sport all-weather turf field for football, soccer, rugby and lacrosse.

The new sports field will be sur­rounded by an eight-lane syn­thetic track and reg­u­la­tion-grade throw and jumps ar­eas for ath­letes.

The re­vi­tal­iza­tion project also in­cludes build­ing a new base­ball di­a­mond on Town of Truro land off Ro­bie Street, which will help pre­vent clashes with other sports.

Wood said ground-break­ing for the new ball di­a­mond will likely be in the spring 2018, fol­lowed by ren­o­vated track and field fa­cil­i­ties in 2019, with the en­tire project com­pleted by 2020.

The com­mit­tee says a re­stored fa­cil­ity in Truro could serve more than 150,000 peo­ple across the re­gion.

“I’d like to see this com­pleted in the next two to three years,” said Wood.

Presently, the TAAC grounds are in poor shape and present a safety haz­ard to ath­letes.

One such ath­lete was Truro’s Mad­die Quinn, who com­peted in javelin at the Canada Games in Win­nipeg, but had to train on a sim­ple grass field with an elec­tri­cal wire run­ning across it.

“We could have five or six sports to not only train and com­pete but can also hold na­tional and pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships in these fa­cil­i­ties,” said Wood.

The ren­o­va­tion project has re­ceived back­ing from both the Town of Truro and the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of County of Colch­ester.

The town has of­fered in-kind sup­port, help with fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, monthly fi­nan­cial re­ports to Wood and his col­leagues once fundrais­ing starts and tax re­ceipts for do­na­tions of $50 and up, among other items.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the Town is not in a fi­nan­cial po­si­tion to make the nec­es­sary changes and it is only through a group like yours that these changes can be made pos­si­ble,” said Michael W. Dolter, Truro’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, in a let­ter to Wood dated Aug. 17.

Craig Burgess, re­cre­ation man­ager for the county, said he could not speak for Colch­ester’s coun­cil’s com­mit­ment, but noted they were “very sup­port­ive of the project.”

He said that the TAAC Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Com­mit­tee would have to present any spe­cific re­quests be­fore county coun­cil.

“It’s pretty im­por­tant for our re­gion, I think,” said Burgess.

The project had been put up for Project Play, an ini­tia­tive of Kraft Heinz and TSN where one group would re­ceive $250,000 to help their ef­forts.

How­ever, the project was not among the fi­nal four that were re­vealed Mon­day.

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