By Trevor Busch
Pushing forward with additional improvements to the Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Complex, the Town of Taber is entering into a new partnership with two local organizations to construct a concession and bathroom facility at the park.
In 2020, the Kinsmen Club of Taber worked with the Baseball and Softball Enhancement Society to complete the fourth ball diamond at KMMSC using capital funds budgeted in 2019. Representatives from the two organizations were in council chambers Dec. 21 to pitch continued improvements at the park by building a concession in the middle of the four diamonds.
“We are about 95 per cent complete on the construction of the fourth ball diamond out at Ken McDonald,” said Tod Pickerell with the Kinsmen Club of Taber. “We’ve just got some trees to plant next spring and that will wrap that up. We really enjoyed the collaboration between the Kinsmen Club, the baseball-softball improvement society, and the town. We sure would like to take the next step, which in our minds would be a concession and washroom building to sort of finish off that complex out there.”
The Kinsmen Club of Taber were requesting to enter into a construction licence agreement with the Town of Taber, to mirror the agreement for the fourth ball diamond and to grant fund the Kinsmen for the project in the amount of $97,025.12. Although this amount does not include a contingency, Pickerell and Kevin Bowman (Baseball-Softball Enhancement Society) had indicated they expected to reduce the cost of the construction, but fundraising has not been easy over 2020 due to the pandemic.
Pickerell and Bowman presented to the Taber Recreation Board as a delegation Dec. 3, 2020 and the board passed a motion recommending the upgrades be considered by council.
“We realize this would be town-owned property, and as a result your planning department might have some comments or some changes to look at,” said Pickerell Dec. 21. “For us, it’s kind of a starting point, if we can get the funding we would like to start next spring and get the structure built next summer.”
There is currently $77,211.11 in the capital budget remaining from the fourth ball diamond project that was returned to capital reserves at the end of 2020. These funds will offset the amount required from capital reserves to fund the project, for a net impact of $19,814.01.
The concession/bathroom was broken down into individual estimated costs, including building structure ($26,525.12), septic field ($30,000 dependent on gravity-fed system and ground water analysis), water tie-in ($2,000), cement pad ($15,000), grass area ($2,500), picnic tables ($1,000 at $250 per four wood tables), cement pads for picnic tables ($2,000 at $500 per four pads), electrical ($7,500), ground work ($5,000), and mud and tapping ($3,500).
Administration’s recommended motion had been to include funding for the project in the 2022 capital budget.
But, organizers indicated they would like to get started in 2021 and Coun. Garth Bekkering agreed with accelerating the timeline if possible.
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to direct administration to enter into a construction licence agreement with the Kinsmen Club of Taber to grant fund the construction of the Ken McDonald Memorial Sports Complex Concession in the amount of $100,000 (for the building of a fourth ball diamond) to be funded through the capital reserves in 2021.
“Providing some explanation of that motion, we understand there’s still $70,000 and change leftover from the first effort this year in 2020,” said CAO Cory Armfelt.
“That money would just roll back into capital reserves, and this would be a fresh, clean start on a new agreement with the Baseball-Softball Enhancement Society and the Kinsmen Club. This is the way administration sought to do this — the cleanest way — was just to end the current agreement we have, put that money back in the bank, and go forward with a new agreement and a new allotment of money.”