Amherst considers reconfiguring Robb Complex

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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$25,000 in capital budget for study for facility’s long-term use

Amherst is going to do a study to look at the future for the Robb Centennial Complex.

Amherst is going to do a study to look at the future for the Robb Centennial Complex. The town has $25,000 set aside in its proposed 2014-15 capital budget to complete the study on the complex that was a centennial complex in 1989.

AMHERST – A quarter century after it was built, Amherst is going to take a look at the future of the Robb Centennial Complex.

The town is budgeting up to $25,000 for the development of architectural redesign plan for the softball-baseball complex on LaPlanche Street.

“We know the facility was designed and built a couple of decades ago and served its purpose well then. We want to have a look to make sure we’re making the best use of our resources now given the demographic and people’s interests have changed,” town CAO Greg Herrett said Thursday. “We just want to make sure we’re making the investment in the right infrastructure.”

The town will consider its 2014-15 capital budget at its Monday council session.

The budget includes $3 million for construction of a new police facility, $200,000 for demolition of the existing West Highlands Elementary and $181,836 for the enhancement to the West Highlands gymnasium.

Amherst has $200,000 set aside in its 2015-16 capital budget to reconstruct the complex, but Herrett said that will depend on what the study suggests.

The complex was built on the former Robb Engineering industrial site in the late 1980s as a town centennial project, opening in 1989. Since then, the complex has hosted numerous provincial and regional slo-pitch and baseball championships as well as a series of Canadian slo-pitch championships in the mid and late 1990s.

While there were more than 30 slo-pitch teams in several tiers at one time, the Amherst Men’s Slo-Pitch League saw fewer than 10 last season, while the baseball diamond was used by the bantam and midget programs after the Lion Cecil Small field on Cornwall Avenue was closed to make way for the new West Highlands Elementary.

One option for the complex could be as a new home for the Cumberland Wolfpack Football Association. Travise Dow spoke to members of town council at its January committee of the whole meeting about the program’s need for a larger facility than the Winston Street Field.

Dow said the minor football program is continuing to grow to the point it has pretty much outgrown its present location.  He suggests Dickey Park or the Robb Complex as potential locations.

The Wolfpack have used the complex in the fall, utilizing its lights, but he said the existing configuration would not work for the older players.

He said the Wolfpack is adding a varsity program this year that will see children playing minor football up to age 18.

“The fact is our field needs attention,” Dow told council. “At Winston Street, the field was constructed for soccer and a football field is 50 yards longer. We’ve run into some issues, especially with the north end zone.”

Dow said the town has been very co-operative with fixing what’s a wet, marshy area, but he said the association received a lot more complaints last year about that area of the field.

He said Dickey Park would be a good option because of the walking track around the complex and the washroom facilities. He said the Robb Complex would also be a good option

Another option is the high school. Dow said the association tried to work with ARHS to move its program there on one of the fields, but did not get a response. ARHS, however, is a public-private partnership and is owned by Ashford Investments.

There was a 70-page feasibility study done several years ago in support of an all-weather turf facility, but it needs extensive funding from all three levels to be completed.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

Organizations: Robb Engineering, Amherst Men, Slo-Pitch League Cumberland Wolfpack Football Association Winston Street Field Ashford Investments

Geographic location: LaPlanche Street, Dickey Park, Cornwall Avenue

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Recent comments

  • Unreal
    January 29, 2014 - 12:24

    its unbelieveable how small minded some people can be..

  • Fooseball
    January 25, 2014 - 13:25

    I think we should use the dickey park field for wolfpack football, right size, great spot...great parking. Robbs is too cold in the fall...too windy...and too mosquitoee when its not cold

  • Rich
    January 25, 2014 - 07:57

    The decidedly shortsighted province will only build a basketball court... If you actually want some room for people to watch the games, you have to pay extra. Nice system.

  • Bias
    January 24, 2014 - 21:58

    So is this article written for Mr. Dow or for the Robb Complex? Seems to me, Mr Dow and his cohorts are asking taxpayers to pass over money to build / maintain a turf that would be in use for a few weeks a year? It does not make sense. This is a small town in a small province that is facing shrinking population (low birth rates and aging populations). Building a clubhouse will not bring new people to this town as I am sure Mr Dow will try to point out. We need to focus on new jobs. Once the economy is healthy, then by all means, build a turf. But until that happens, as a taxpayer, I will strongly oppose this ridiculous idea. I refuse to pay more and more taxes, especially with a million+ sunk into a deprecated building that is now the town hall. I VOTE NO !!!

    • Wow
      January 29, 2014 - 10:48

      Mr Dow and his cohorts? really? Mr Dow is not only an excellent man he also is an RCMP officer, a MADD supporter and he takes his own personal time to run and organize football for well over a 100 children and parents..He isn't trying to trick anyone, or try to drain the taxpayers, he is trying to give over a 100 children a proper football feild with a real score board, he isn't asking for multi millions of dollars.. just asking for Robbs to be utilized more efficiently to benefit more than one category of sports, Robbs field is by far under utilized, and for that matter so is the dickey park location, it has a small splash pad and a walking trail, they could do so many things to benefit our small community, for our kids.. I'm not sure exactly how you could possibly think giving young children a football field is a bad thing? No one is trying to build a clubhouse to bring in new people (although I do agree we do need more), he is trying to get OUR KIDS, the children in our community who will grow into young adults and make the decision on if they want to stay in this town and have more children in this town... our kids are the ones who will make this town grow eventually... but you are right, lets not give them anything, they can play in a "soccor field" that doesn't have a score board or lights at night, who cares about how those kids feel, or what they do. Over the past 4-5 years Football in our community has progressivly grown, it is up to over 100 kids and still growing, those kids work their little butts off practicing at least 3 nights a week with games 1-2 nights a week, and it is much more than 2 months a year, they practice in April, May and June, and they start up again in Sept, Oct, and November, so half the year.. I agree the town most certainly does not spend money efficiently, but things for our kids is never a bad thing.. Kudos to you Mr Dow for taking time to care about our kids.. not everyone does.. Just my opinion.

  • Marnie Moreau
    January 24, 2014 - 21:43

    I think that we should still have a place for bantam and midgets to play baseball. It used yo be a very important part of this town. We could gave senior ball like Moncton and we could make money. We also had the bantam team win the atlantics last year. So I think there are lots of great baseball players.

  • chris-toe-pher
    January 24, 2014 - 17:46

    didn't the city just spend several million not too long ago for the police facility downtown?

  • Spuddy
    January 24, 2014 - 15:30

    The gym enhancement is for new school, not the one they're tearing down.

    • Jack on the Rocks
      January 24, 2014 - 17:52

      Hey Spuddy,thanks for the info...the article kinda reads the other way...

  • Jack on the Rocks
    January 24, 2014 - 15:27

    Let me get this right.....$186,000 for gym enhancements...then $200,000 to tear down the same school you just spent $186,000 on....Are you guys nuts?????

    • kathy hubbard
      January 28, 2014 - 03:12

      i have a few thoughts on this as well,my husband and i own the yellow robbs building at the robbs ball park.we would be open to offers on this 40 by 60 building,which has over 5000 square ft,pay us 200.000 ,and tear it down if you like,would be the best location for the police depart,the football team,a drive thru tim hortons,new leigon facility for the veterans,or best idea ever,a boys and girls club,with minor sports teams ect there is nowhere for the youth to go in this town ,there could be a playground for the kiddies,it would even be great to have a dog park down here,im sure 3.000.000 could build a complex everyone in town could be proud of,a multi complex perhaps,the location is perfect.plus we want to sell the building,:)