As it has been, it seems it always shall be.
The King City Lions are the main reason why King City residents have any recreational opportunities to speak of. Having spearheaded the planning and fund raising for the King City Lion’s Arena that opened in 1972, and again for its expansion in 1997, the Lions are once again up to their good old tricks.
And if all goes to plan, the commencement of construction of a brand new outdoor ball hockey facility complete with concrete slab and boards will begin this fall. It might even be ready for winter ice for an outdoor rink due to its planned close proximity to the Zamboni. In summer it can also be used for basketball.
In the summer of 2009, members of the King City Lions Club came to me with an idea to build this project from the hard work of their fund raising efforts. They had noted how kids are always jumping the fences to play ball hockey in the tennis courts and felt that an asphalt pad with some boards would give them a proper place to play their ball hockey games. All they needed was a dedicated spot in the park, and permission from the Township to build it. Some of their members who work in the construction industry had estimated that an asphalt pad could be constructed for between $20,000-$25,000.
I set up a meeting with our Director of Parks and Recreation, Catherine Purcell, and the Manager of the King City Arena, Rick Hampton along with two members of the Lion’s last summer, and out of that came the idea to situate it beside the King City Arena and to build it to a higher standard than the the Lions had originally proposed. Having recently secured $30,000 from Shoppers Drug Mart for the purpose of a tangible capital improvement to the village it was decided that this project would be an ideal use of those funds. Our budget had now been increased to $60,000. Furthermore, through negotiations with a local developer in town, we had also secured an additional $45,000. Now we had $105,000 to play with.
Then the project planning really began to take off as Catherine Purcell then pitched the idea of building a permanent skate park immediately adjacent to the new ball hockey court. Since then the Township has conducted a number of youth focus groups to get their input for design and implementation. The project has since been RFP’d for design build proposals and the total project cost has been estimated at $180,000 to be built in two phases with the first phase (the ball hockey court) coming this fall, funded 100% from privately secured funds, with zero impact to the Town budget. That’s right folks. This King City project is costing Township tax payers…NOTHING. A zero tax increase all thanks, once gain, to the proactive efforts of your King City Lions Club.
Additionally, this fall Catherine and her staff will be applying to various grant funds that are available for these kinds of projects. If all goes well we should see the skate park under construction some time next year.
Finally! A good news story for King City, and a place for the kids (and adults) to play, get some exercise and have fun.
It also could be used for games and events for a “made in King City” Oktoberfest, something new that I hope will take on a life of its own. Right now its just an idea that I’ve pitched to some friends, and to the King City Lions in order to fill the gap left by the discontinued Lions Auction that was a mainstay in October at the King City Arena for decades. With a little hard work – maybe something new will emerge.
Its something I’d like to be part of, and to share with you.
As the late Simon Kastner said to me in 2006, “Cleve, you are now the Bürgermeister of King City.” In that spirit (and hopefully with the help of the “boys” from the Clever Era..;), I hope to bring this to life.
Right now its just an idea – Live music, games, barbecued Oktoberfest sausage, micro-brewers like King Brewery on display with their craft brews for sale, and a beer garden for some earnest sampling. A farmers market, vintners from the Marsh. An open fire, corn roasting, kids in Halloween costumes…and here’s an interesting hook for you long time King City residents. Once a year on this day, we’ll rename Doctors Lane, to…are you ready for this?
(Be sure to leave your empty’s…;)