With a $1-million upgrade to the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park and a $1-million renewal of Bridge Street, downtown Sackville is expected to see a revitalization this summer like it’s never seen before.
The downtown projects were two of the big-ticket items approved earlier this week as part of the 2013 capital budget, with the green light given by town council for more than $3 million in spending this year.
Sackville’s treasurer and acting CAO Michael Beal said of the funds budgeted for this year’s capital projects, $650,000 is anticipated to come from the two other levels of government for the Bridge Street reconstruction, about $400,000 will come out of the town’s general capital fund, $675,000 will come from the municipality’s capital out of revenue, and the remaining ($1.75M) will be borrowed from the Municipal Capital Borrowing Board.
Beal said the town will not move forward on the Bridge Street project unless the other levels of government also commit to the project. The town will pay a third of the $1-million cost required for the downtown improvements – as long as the other partners come on board with their share as well, he said.
“The Bridge Street project is contingent on us getting the $650,000 from the other levels of government,” said Beal.
The upgrade is expected to include an overhaul of the infrastructure on Bridge Street, including complete road reconstruction with water and sewer renewal.
Beal explained that if the other levels of government come through with the funding for the project, the town will still need to borrow the full amount in the interim “while we wait for it to come back” from the other parties.
As for the upgrades to the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park, they’ve been a long time coming, said Beal, with members of council placing it as their priority project for this year.
He said it’s considered a “special project” as it requires a large sum of money to be spent at one time – similar to the water tower, the civic centre and the water treatment plant projects.
For these types of projects, Beal said the municipality looks at its financial position to determine the long-and-short-term impact to determine “whether we can fund it and afford it while continuing to live within our means.”
Beal said staff and council decided to do the park upgrades all at once this summer, hence the $1.1 million pricetag, rather than phasing it in over a number of years, which would have resulted in recurring park closures over the three-or-four-year period.
“It’s one of those things that needed to be done all at once.”
Although only a preliminary design has been presented to council for the park project at this point, parks and recreation facilities director Todd Cole said the upgrades are still expected to include the main components that were originally featured in the town’s recreation master plan several years ago – including a new field house building with washroom facilities, a small splash pad/water play area, a skateboard park, and a new bandstand. The plan also proposed to open up the area more by relocating the lilac bushes to the outer edges of the park.
“We have to look at what we can fit within the park,” said Beal, noting there will be public presentations on the new concept sometime over the next few months.
Other large capital projects for 2013 include the replacement of a loader; boardwalk repairs in the Sackville Waterfowl Park, baseball field improvements, computer upgrades at town hall, and completion of a third well at the water treatment plant.
Spending was also allotted for a watermain on Walker Road, upgrades at the water treatment plant, repairs to the lift station, bunker gear and other fire equipment replacement, a new thermal imaging camera, new highway and Waterfowl Park signage, replacement of the bylaw officer’s vehicle, sidewalk renewal, Lorne Street ditching, storm sewer on Dufferin Street, a fuel system at the town garage, and shale/gravel placement on Walker Road.