By Kevin Werner, News Staff
It's important the Dundas Jr. C Blues and theDundassenior AAA Real McCoys hockey teams don’t make the playoffs this season.
If they do, they could upset the carefully-constructed building schedule for the $2.7 million renovation project of the J.L. Grightmire Arena on Market Street.
“We have been jokingly saying the McCoys and the Blues can’t go past their regular season,” said Dundas councillor Russ Powers.
Construction is expected to begin on the aging facility in April, 2013, with the work completed by Sept. 15.
“As soon as they finish their end of the season, staff will be in to break ground,” said Powers.
There are two phases to the Grightmire project. The first involves a new front entrance with a stairway and elevator, a new third floor featuring a viewing lounge and Hockeyville room with training and instructional space for various sports, aDundassports hall of fame, and refurbished dressing rooms using old stairwells at the arena’s current entrances. The second phase will include a walking track, which is proving popular with residents even though it’s not even build yet, and improvements to the other dressing room. The second phase may be done concurrently with the first phase, or be completed in 2014, said Powers.
The facility and new dressing rooms will be fully accessible, according to provincial regulations.
Details of the sports wall of fame are still being worked out, but it could include interactive television monitors that can be updated with information and images of local athletes.
Don Robertson, owner of the McCoys, said the team’s season can only go to April 1.
“They told me they don’t want the McCoys in the playoffs, which is hard,” he said. “If need be, we would move and play in Ancaster.”
If all goes according to schedule – Powers says all of the pre-approved contractors have stated they can meet the tight deadlines – the renovations will be completed in time for the April 2014 Allan Cup that’s scheduled for Dundas. The request for proposals are scheduled to be issued in November, with a “quick turnaround,” said Powers.
Powers, Robertson, and Peter Curtis, who are overseeing the fundraising and construction of the facility, revealed last week the design plans for the new Grightmire facility.
They said construction will begin regardless if not all the $2.7 million is in place. The city is contributing $1.1 million to the project, whileHamiltonhas asked the federal government under its Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund for up to $1 million. The $600,000 is the responsibility of the community. The Hockeyville Legacy project has contributed $100,000. Robertson said it won’t all be cash contributions the committee will receive. He said companies have already proposed providing in-kind donations, such as flooring, carpeting, etc.
“The group is comfortable we will get there,” said Robertson.
Powers said he expects the federal government to also chip in with a portion of the funding.
“Hopefully, the federal government will come through with the ask we made to the infrastructure fund,” he said.
During the two-hour open house at the Grightmire Arena, over 60 people came through studying a model, and reviewing the designs.
“The response has been really, really great,” said Powers. “The fact we have gone beyond arena sports, figure skating, and hockey, is appreciated.”
“I love it,” said Dundasresident Stan Nowak. “It brings the arena into the 21st century. This will be great for the community.”
Dundasresidents still remember when Grightmire Arena was identified byHamiltonofficials on a list to be closed down. The arena was saved, and now, said Powers, it needs to be upgraded.
“It’s here now, let’s invest in it,” he said.
Added Robertson, “People are excited about it. It harkens back to the old days where the community gathered and it’s true for here.”