Local sports facilities get major upgrade
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.