Cambridge and Conestoga College sharing cost to build soccer complex

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Cambridge City Council has endorsed a staff-recommended design for the new Fountain Street Soccer Complex and approved a partnership with Conestoga College that would provide $1.5 million towards the project.

The project  now moves to the design development phase which includes a Stage 2 Environmental Impact Study and the site plan application process. The soccer complex is currently anticipated to open for public use in the spring of 2023.

“This is a very exciting project for Cambridge,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry. “Not only are we boosting our sport and recreation offerings in the community and building out vital infrastructure for sports tourism, but also forming an important partnership that will support our commitment to offering a world-class city to live, work, learn and play.”

The endorsed design was developed after reviewing and incorporating feedback from the community and user groups and includes:

  • Two synthetic turf fields with sports lighting, bleacher seating, players benches, meeting minimum specifications of League1 soccer facilities requirements
  • A synthetic turf field with combined soccer and rugby play areas
  • natural turf playing fields
  • 6,500 sq ft service building with public and universal washrooms, changerooms, multi-purpose space, staff room and equipment storage;
  • Asphalt parking lot with 16 accessible and 299 standard parking spaces, lighting and landscaping
  • Pathways and trails
  • Open lawn area for warm-up / training / flexible use.

Under the approved partnership agreement, Conestoga College will pay costs associated with converting one natural turf field to an artificial soccer/rugby field, upgrading player’s benches and bleacher seating, installing a digital scoreboard, storage area, and other related amenities. The shared benefits of this agreement bring advantages for student athletes at the college while expanding the available services to the wider community.

“We are delighted to build on our longstanding relationship with the City of Cambridge through this exciting initiative,” said John Tibbits, Conestoga president. “The Fountain Street Soccer Complex will create high quality sports and recreation opportunities for athletes and youth across the community as well as for our students, while showcasing the City as a destination of choice for sports tourism.”

The City of Cambridge will be increasing the project budget by $1.9 million to be funded through development charges and the Capital Works Reserve Fund. This will address the needs that were identified during the community consultation process such as premium natural and synthetic fields, paved parking areas and field lighting. This additional funding from both Conestoga and the City will provide the community with much-needed facilities that address current field inventory needs while still allowing for future growth.

Staff are currently developing a naming and sponsorship strategy which, if approved, could have the potential for an estimated $1.5 to $2 million return for this project, reducing the City’s overall contribution. It is also anticipated that the rental revenue generated from the facility could potentially be up to $6.19 million over the next 10 years.

“Staff have worked closely with the soccer community and the public to understand their needs and propose a facility that will best serve Cambridge,” said Deputy City Manager Hardy Bromberg. “This new facility will offer state-of-the-art recreation to residents and user groups while supporting our overall strategy to upgrade and provide new recreational facilities across the city to plan for and sustain a growing community.”

The new outdoor soccer complex will have multiple natural and artificial soccer fields, a washroom/changeroom building, parking lot, internal trails and playground.  The soccer complex will be located at 880 Linden Drive (corner of Fountain St and Linden Dr.), situated between the Blair and Preston areas of Cambridge, and in close proximity to highway 401.

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