Mohawk Sports Park Track Renewal

The Golden Horseshoe Track & Field Council is pleased to announce a recent collaborative partnership between the City of Hamilton and local track & field groups who support the upcoming infrastructure renewal of the current Mohawk Sports Park, outdoor track & field facility.

Local groups including the Hamilton Olympic Club (celebrating 90 years); Hamilton Special Olympics; Hamilton CANUSA Games; HEAT Athletics; Stoney Creek Athletics; Monte Cristo Track & Field Club; Sport Hamilton; and the Hamilton Accessible Sports Council, have been meeting with City of Hamilton staff over this past year to share their vision and expertise towards this project which represents the only public facility of its kind in the City of Hamilton.

Project Co-Chairman, Bill Urie, who currently sits on the Board of Directors with the Hamilton Olympic Club as well as serving as a Director with the 91st Highlanders Athletic Association (Hamilton Indoor Games) emphasized the need to “get this project right”. “Having this work completed will not only lead to a more safe and inclusive public space but will also result in greater accessibility for both athletes and spectators”. “Our ultimate goal is to have the capability of hosting quality regional, provincial and national events including seeing the return of evening twilight meets”. The proposed changes will result in expanded and new program opportunities for our community including a proposed PARA Athletic and Special Olympics Program.

Co-Chairman, Kevin Gonci, SportHamilton and Hamilton CANUSA Games, explained how the various community groups came together to support this initiative when City Staff announced plans to finally move forward with the project. “It was apparent that the various stakeholder groups all had a common vision and identified barriers to the existing facility which needed to be overcome and the best way to approach it was to work in collaboration with city officials in whatever capacity we could contribute”. “Initially we were extremely disappointed that the project budget did not allow for accessibility improvements, given the performance of our Canadian PARA Athletes at the recent RIO Olympics and  PAN AM Games, it was obvious to us that these features needed to be included in the facility upgrades”.

Phase one of the project will occur this summer with the installation of a new high performance track surface along with a new discus/hammer cage and accessibility features that have been identified. Depending on the success of our fundraising efforts we anticipate that additional work will be completed during Phase two (2018) and will include infield lighting; spectator seating; new shot put area; and shared use storage space. “Our ability to host high caliber competitions will result in a major economic impact for our city and will have a positive influence on the long term athlete development of athletes both locally and across the region”.

Our subsequent meeting with City Councillor Tom Jackson resulted in a further $100,000 towards the project with an additional $100,000 matching contribution if our group made an effort to contribute to the project. “This type of arrangement is not that uncommon, the Hamilton Olympic Club for instance made a $17,000 purchase for new steeple chase barriers which will be used for the first time this season and most of the current equipment on site, with total value of over $150,000, is owned and maintained by the local clubs and used by the various community groups and school boards during competitions and training”. City staff are quite aware that any contribution on our part will depend on the success of local fundraising efforts including various grant applications which we might qualify for. One such grant has already secured a $10,000 contribution from the Toronto based William Pearson Family Fund which will be used to help replace the former discus/hammer cage.

In addition to establishing a GO Fund Me Page (Mohawk Sports Park) we are offering corporate advertisement opportunities for local businesses and all donations will be eligible to receive a tax receipt. We are also in contact with city staff regarding the possible renaming of the track & field facility after local track & field legend, Ray Lewis. “Hamilton has always had a well respected and established reputation in Athletics and an informal poll conducted recently at the Hamilton Olympic Club’s 90th Gala Celebration would tend to support the naming of the facility after Mr. Lewis”

For additional information regarding donations and corporate advertisement opportunities please contact Project Co-Chairman, Kevin Gonci at kgonci4@gmail.com  (905) 317-9381.

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