Smaller Sarnia Centennial project includes revamped DPP, ice rink

The concept design for the Legacy Project. The committee felt only the refurbishment of the Dow People place, an outdoor fireplace, a synthetic ice surface and a water play area could be completed by 2014, Sarnia's centennial year.

The concept design for the Legacy Project. The committee felt only the refurbishment of the Dow People place, an outdoor fireplace, a synthetic ice surface and a water play area could be completed by 2014, Sarnia’s centennial year.

Sarnia’s Legacy Committee has scaled back its plans to improve Centennial Park in time for the 100th anniversary of the city.

The project will focus on revamping the Dow People Place, building a synthetic ice rink and a water feature. And the project comes with a reduced price tag – an estimated $3.2 million.

The Legacy Committee first announced plans for a waterfront project in Centennial Park in November. It included tearing down the Maclean’s Centre and building a new community building complete with leased restaurant facilities.

But after hearing from the public that the $5.7 million plans were a little too grand, the group reduced the project to what could be complete before the centennial year, 2014.

The project will include refurbishing the Dow People Place, complete with sail roof, up to 800-person seating, a more permanent stage which would also be capable of being a movie theatre. Washrooms would be renovated and the former ice rink would be rebuilt, likely using paving stones, to create a series of ramps for better access.

The Legacy committee also wants to build a synthetic ice oval around a water feature. In the summer, children would splash in the jets and in the winter people would skate the circular path around it on a high-tech pad similar to what NHL players use during training.

The outdoor fireplace and donor wall will also be completed according to chair Pat Maaten. “We wanted to choose the most compelling parts of the project which could be completed for 2014,” she says.

Alex JongsmaHeather Wright Photo

Alex Jongsma
Heather Wright Photo

But nothing will move ahead without money according to fundraising chair Alex Jongsma. About $2.3 million will need to be raised in the community.

Jongsma has been approaching local businesses to contribute and the group is working on a federal grant which could bring up to $500,000 to the project. But Jongsma says everyone will need to contribute to make the project work.

“The success of this campaign is highly dependent of all of us stepping forward; all of the City of Sarnia

not limiting it to  a few folks,” he says. “The timing project deadline is 2014; in order for us to get this project going we do have to have the funds raised and in place…We cannot go to the construction phase until the funds are raised.”

The city has committed up to contribute 20 percent of the project up to about $1 million.

That leaves the Maclean Center out in the cold and still vacant. Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says the city will have to deal with the vacant building this year. Estimates have shown it will cost about $500,000 just to bring the building back up to building code standards.

Currently the Legacy Project Committee is getting some firm cost estimates for the construction of the project so it can apply for the federal grants. City council will have final approval of the project.

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