St. Clair College is donating 20 acres of land to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, now all council has to do is determine what to do with it.
The donation will be discussed at the council meeting Monday night.
Mayor Darrin Canniff made the announcement at his annual address to the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning, saying that he would like to see pickleball courts and other recreational facilities not already in Chatham-Kent.
"Recreational facilities that don't currently exist in Chatham-Kent. For instance we talked about pickleball courts and a lot of them in a group. That would be one of the examples that could very well be talked about in the next week," said Canniff. "Other sport facilities, I'll let you fill-in the blanks. Other sports facilities that don't exist in Chatham-Kent that we would like to see. I'll let you fill-in the blanks."
Canniff said this has been talked about for weeks and he's excited it's finally coming to fruition, adding that accepting the land donation is a no brainer.
"I've been dreaming about it for a while. This is going to be a fun announcement. Probably going to do it Monday or Tuesday of next week just to talk about the hypotheticals. When we get in there there will be corporate sponsorships. We have a lot of different money coming in to sponsor all those things," he said.
The land to be donated is at Bear Line Road and McNaughton Avenue by the St. Clair College National Powerlines Training Centre.
St. Clair College has indicated its priorities for the land would be a cricket pitch and indoor practice area for cricket, and basketball/volleyball courts. However, community consultation will guide what types of recreational activities should be included at the proposed park.
“We are happy to work with Chatham-Kent on this donation and to have the opportunity to contribute to the community through this great project," said College President Patti France. "We believe that this park will provide a space for residents to come together and enjoy the benefits of sports and physical activity."
The mayor also told the Chamber crowd that Chatham-Kent is set up for success "in a big way." He touted the municipality's good financial health, citing no debt and good reserves, as examples.
Other priorities for the mayor are investing in infrastructure, such as the airport and more serviced lands for incoming businesses, and partnerships to "set the tone for generations to come", adding the next few years are critical for Chatham-Kent.
Canniff also said the municipality needs a new arena, more recreational facilities, and better transit for a better quality of life.
He also addressed the issue of vanishing farmland, saying Chatham-Kent is building up with high rises and not building out.
Canniff said the goal is to be the best community in Canada and he's asking residents to give five per cent more.
The mayor concluded his address by telling the crowd that "this is the beginning of our future."