The Ottawa Stadium – what to do?

As an avid baseball fan, I am sad to say that it doesn’t seem like my adopted city has any real stomach for pro or semi-pro ball on a sustainable basis.

Too bad. I have some great memories taking the kids there when they were young. Helluva stadium for baseball. Easy to get to. The prices were reasonable. And great baseball.

But it’s just not going to work here and it’s the last season for the Fat Cats.

So what does the City do with the stadium? It would be a real shame to tear it down and sell the property to developers to build more condos or big box outlets. We have enough of those things already, IMHO.

Well, the City is being a bit creative in its search for solutions. The fact that they ar going to the public for advice is no surprise. Involving the public is an integral part of any development process.

The innovation is in how they are doing it.

As described in the Citizen today:

At a preliminary meeting in September, interested members of the public will be given information about the site and its surroundings, such as the nearby transit and rail stations, as well as mini-lectures on zoning and what the city’s official plan says may or may not be allowed in that area. People will also be encouraged to share their ideas and staff will identify any common themes that emerge from the discussion.

But Workshop No. 2 in October is when the real fun begins.

That’s when participants will be grouped into teams and given materials to help them actually design a new site. Supplies will include base maps of the area, scaled templates that represent possible features of the site — think apartment buildings, retail outlets, parks — as well as markers, pens, pencils and trace paper.

And no need to worry about lack of architectural skills: the city’s designers and planners will be on hand to give any advice.

We’ll see how this goes, but I have to give the City and staff credit for thinking “outside of the box” (I do hate that phrase – but it is useful here) on this issue.
Me, I agree with Councillor Hume who questions why the Lansdowne dome cannot be relocated to the stadium.

I want to know why we can’t put the Lansdowne dome there,” said Hume, referring to the removable dome that goes over the field at Frank Clair Stadium during the winter. The cover will need a new home when Lansdowne Park is redeveloped.

“Yes, we have wonderful grass there (at the stadium) now. But if we changed it to artificial turf, could we have more city-wide events there, like soccer or Little League baseball?

…and concerts, track meets, and any number of other events could be held there.

I’ll be interested in seeing how this turns out.

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