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(Posted 7:30 a.m., April 17)
Local councillor unveils $8M expansion plans for Millennium Park

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A proposal to invest $8 million to expand Millennium Park has been endorsed by local home builders which signed a joint memorandum of understanding to front end 75 per cent of the construction costs.

The project, which is the brainchild of Cumberland Ward Coun. Stephen Blais, would see Millennium Park get an artificial turf field for soccer and football with stadium seating and lighting, three more grass soccer fields, a 400-metre track, a clubhouse for junior sports, a splash pad and play zones, and more swing sets.

Under the memorandum of understanding the homebuilders, which include Minto, Tamarack, Mattamy and Claridge, would design and build the new facilities. In exchange they would take on 75 per cent of the cost of the project, or $6 million, wuth the understanding they they will be paid back through an area wide development charge on all new home construction in Orléans and the designated Cumberland urban area. The city would put up the initial $2 million

According to Blais. the partnership is worth $5 million which is the amount that will be benefitted through the homebuilders' involvement and leverage.

"The expansion is actully a $12 million project, but because the home builders are doing all the work themselves they're able to reduce the cost by $5 million," explains Blais.

“Once this project is completed Millennium will be the premiere destination for minor soccer and football in Ottawa," the Cumberland councillor added. "The additional fields and the showcase turf field will allow for thousands more children to participate in minor sports.”

The project was immediately hailed by local soccer and football organizations which have been calling for additional fields and an artificial turf for years.

“With more and more kids playing sports, the Cumberland Panther family is ecstatic that Millennium Park will be expanded to meet these demands,” says Mark Ouellet, vice-president of the Cumberland Panthers Football Club. “Due to Councillor Blais’ tireless efforts, our players will now play at the best venue in our entire league."

Ouellet's comments were echoed by Cumberland United Soccer Club president Anatoly Gann.

“The explosion of boys and girls playing soccer in the east end has presented infrastructure challenges for our club,” said Gann “We cannot thank Councillor Blais enough for his unwavering support and vision for the Millennium expansion project.”

The proposed project must still be approved by city council. Blais is confident it will be passed in time to start construction next spring.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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