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ICYMI: Thorold is getting a brand new turf field, but where?

McMillan Park is still a serious contender; 'If that bottom park could be used that would be the perfect spot to put our money into'
The lower part of McMillan Park where the turf field could potentially be installed.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A version of article was originally published by ThoroldToday on April 10.

Could McMillan Park be getting a turf field after all? 

During the recent City Budget deliberations, Council approved a preliminary design study for a turf field and asked City Hall staff to come back with a report on possible locations.

That report is set to hit the council chamber floor within the next eight weeks, and one thing’s for certain: McMillan Park is still a serious contender. 

Back in 2022, the DSBN put forward a proposal to buy McMillan Park to install a full-size synthetic turf football field, but negotiations between the city and school board eventually broke down

ThoroldToday recently heard rumblings that Thorold Secondary School has been lobbying behind the scenes to still try and bring the turf field to the park.

It sounds like they’ve been successful in convincing some Thorold City Councillors, as the matter was discussed during Monday’s meeting of the Parks, Trails and Recreation Committee.

“Thorold High School wants to use the lower level to maybe put a turf field in there,” said Councillor Mike De Divitiis. “Is that something we could support?”

In stead of completely overhauling McMillan Park, the new idea being floated is that of a turf field right next to the baseball diamond, where there is currently a splash pad.

Councillor Ken Sentance — who also sits on the Parks and Recreation Committee — seems to be on board with the project.

“We’re looking into turfing that because it helps Thorold High,” he told committee members. “I know we’re looking into that but we still have to figure that out. For me, if that bottom park could be used that would be the perfect spot to put our money into.”

Committee Chair Kieran Daniels, who helps out at the Thorold Soccer Club, says that Hutt Park could also be a potential location for a turf field.

“We can fit a full size field, eight-lane running track and parking lot in that park,” he told committee members. “It’s a very big park. There’s really not much other than it being a big open grass field.”

But the surrounding neighbours on McDonagh Crescent might not be too keen on that idea.

“There was a bit of a war fought over parking in Hutt Park,” said committee member Robert Merrill. “The people who live around that park I believe won, because there’s no parking. That being said, I don’t know what the statute of limitations are on things like that.”

Director of Community Services Geoff Holman explained that all options are still on the table.

“If there are some issues with respect to parking, drainage or soil conditions, we’re going to vet those first before we get too far down that road,” he told committee members. “Right now, we’re about six to eight weeks away from coming back to council with a short list of candidate sites.”

Holman also expressed his hope that the project would progress fast enough to be approved during the 2025 City Budget Deliberations next year.

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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