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Malden Centre Park open house shows possible future plans

Malden Centre Park open house shows possible future plans


The public got a chance what is possibly in the future for Malden Centre Park.

An open house was held Monday evening in the Libro Centre lobby where members of the community came out to offer suggestions and express concerns over what was presented. Based on ideas from a previous open house, administration presented a concept with four baseball diamonds, an asphalt walking path surrounding and through the County Road 20 park, a new playground, shelter, washroom and parking lot.

Two of the proposed diamonds would be 300-feet while the other two would be 250-feet, meaning the existing diamonds would be shifted to accommodate the new dimensions.

“The drawings we've come up with are based on our last public survey we did last year,” said director of recreation, culture and facilities Heidi Baillargeon.

The plans for Malden Centre Park are baseball-centric and Baillargeon added people are asking for the fencing to be removed.

“We've met with the baseball community and user groups,” said Baillargeon. “They like the design and are really happy with it.”

An actual costing is still to come but an early estimate is pegged at $3-4 million. That would also include drainage and lighting in addition to the other amenities. The washroom itself is a “pricey” item with Baillargeon stating it can cost up to $800,000 to light a baseball diamond.

“We will work up a cost (for the park) before going to council,” said Baillargeon.

Another public survey will run through the end of February and the design will be tweaked based on feedback, she added. She said a previous survey had over 230 responses.

“There was quite a bit of public feedback from the last survey,” said Baillargeon.

Baillargeon anticipates a report could go before town council in three to four months. She added master plans have been created for H. Murray Smith Centennial Park, Jack Purdie Park, Warren Mickle Park and now Malden Centre Park with more to come.

“We're hoping to do master plans for every park,” she said, adding it will help decide where recreation amenities will go.

Marie Fryer was one of the residents who turned out.

“So far, I like the plan,” said Fryer.

Fryer believed the town was “on the right track” and said she is one of the residents wanting the fences to be taken down. Her children are in baseball and she would like to see older children be able to use the park in addition to the younger kids.

Jon Parks noted the placards around the lobby read “Malden Park” and wanted to ensure the park's name remains as Malden Centre Park. He questioned how many components can fit onto the Libro Centre grounds and thought many of them can be accommodated in Malden.

Malden Centre Park has over five acres, said Parks, and he wanted some amenities there. A new playground is needed, he said.

“People can drive out to London for hockey or soccer,” he added. “They can drive here to play pickleball or tennis.”

Frank Palumbo said items that were once at Malden Centre Park are there no longer. He said there are no tennis or basketball courts or a surface to play ball hockey. He noted those were used when he was a teacher at neighbouring Malden Centre Public School.

“There's still nothing for tennis, pickleball, basketball or ball hockey,” he said. “There's no playing surfaces for any of that.”

By Ron Giofu

Malden Centre Park open house shows possible future plans

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