No work is planned for Blackburn Park in 2020. (File photo)

Klahani Park courts to be resurfaced as part of city’s 2020 projects

Ball diamonds at Blackburn Park won’t be rebuilt in 2020, funds not available

Improvements to city parks in the 2020 budget include resurfacing courts in Klahani Park.

During their budget deliberations, Salmon Arm’s mayor and council discussed which courts should be improved.

City staff said the plan would be to resurface the multi-purpose courts used for basketball and tennis.

Mayor Alan Harrison said he’s up at the park frequently and sees the pickleball courts in use a lot but not the others.

“We need to think about that before spending $27,000,” he said, adding he’d like to see two more pickleball courts.

Coun. Chad Eliason said he’d like to see work done on places for kids to play.

“After that I would be happy to look at things more adult-oriented.”

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Harrison countered that he wouldn’t want to put a lot of work into the multi-use courts if, five years from now, the city finds it needs two more pickleball courts.

Coun. Kevin Flynn said he agreed with Eliason, that the multi-purpose courts might get used more if they were in better shape.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s public works director, said if the area is not utilized for tennis or basketball it could be repurposed for pickleball in the future, but right now the plan is to save what’s there.

Coun. Debbie Cannon suggested that perhaps the city could pursue a user agreement with the Outdoor School.

She asked if there’s any appetite or money from the school district, and Niewenhuizen said he’s not aware of any.

Discussion also arose about the two backstops for slo-pitch and minor baseball at Klahani Park. After a lot of back and forth about whether to phase in the upgrading of Field 2 over two years to save money, a new plan to take the money out of a reserve in order to do the work in 2020 was reached. Cost of the project is $55,000.

By replacing the backstop, the infield distances on Field 2 would be improved, which will help the minor baseball association in its application for the 2020 provincial peewee championships. No work will be done on Field 1.

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Plans for Blackburn Park include moving the giant pile of earth near 10th Avenue SE and raising and rebuilding the ball diamonds, but not in 2020.

Niewenhuizen said it would mean both ball diamonds would have to be taken out of service at some time.

“The timing is really unknown.”

Coun. Cannon asked again about timing, and Niewenhuizen said the city doesn’t currently have the money to replace the ball diamonds, so must start a reserve fund.

“It takes $1 million per field, and we have two fields. It depends on how quickly you want to build up those reserves so we have $2 plus million to do the work.”

He said a small soccer practice field might also be preloaded.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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A rainbow graces the sky above Blackburn Park during a soccer game in August. (File photo)

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