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Ottawa council attempts to snag grant for Thornton Park

At least 5 projects could be targeted

Some much-needed work could be given to the courts at Thornton Park if the city of Ottawa can grab a grant.

Commissioner Marla Rodriquez said in a City Council workshop session she's attempting to get an Open Space Lands Acquisition Grant (OSLAD) 50/50 grant for park work, but the city is on a quick deadline to apply.

Thornton Park was one that came to mind, with most of the focus being on the park's tennis/pickleball courts and basketball courts.

"It does need some improvements. That park is in bad shape," Rodriquez said.

The grant would be for $600,000 with half of that being backed by the city of Ottawa.

The grant requires five projects at the park to be identified, but more means a better chance of getting the grant.

The city has listed 10 including: resurfacing/repainting the tennis and pickleball courts, resurfacing and repainting the basketball courts, improving the shelter, adding a splash pad, adding a playground, adding bags, adding a walking path, paving the small parking lot, renovating the existing bricks/pavers and adding a roller hockey/ice skating rink with a chiller.

Not all of the projects will be tackled with the money if received, but acts as a rough outline as to what it can be spent on.

Commissioner James Less said he liked the projects but questioned if the city would have enough funds to back their half of the grant. He said when the city applied for an OSLAD grant in the past for Dayton Bluffs Preserve the City Council at the time was unable to fund the $250,000 of their half of the project.

Commissioner Wayne Eichelkraut said over a period of two years, the finances could be set aside for some of the projects but the city would still need to seek a corporate sponsor for the rest.

The City Council will return to the discussion and apply for the grant during their Tuesday City Council meeting.

Other parks in the area were considered for the grant including Rigden Park, but Thornton better met the needs and timeline of the grant.

Allen Park a 'top priority'

Eichelkraut also added Allen Park was considered but couldn't fit in the right timeline.

The retaining wall itself could use some work but that project would "easily" cost more than $1 million.

Eichelkraut said the city plans to work with the Port Authority to identify grants and plan future work at the park.

"We're not letting that fall by the wayside," Eichelkraut said. "That's a top priority on our list."

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