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Play Ball? Council to Receive Report on New Baseball Complex

Developing a new baseball complex in Woodstock is equivalent to paying RA Dickey's salary for a year. The ballpark estimate on developing a new slo-pitch complex is on par with the Blue Jays pitcher's $6.6-million salary for 2013. A 165-page report from MHBC Planning shows a cost of between $6.5 and $7-million for a 3 or 5 diamond complex on the Woodall Farm property. The report indicates there's an option to start with 3 diamonds, and expand to 5 later on. That first phase of the project would also include a pavilion with washrooms, and a playground. City Engineer Harold DeHaan says they were "pleasantly surprised" by the report, which indicates the project would be a good fit for the property. "That was the original goal of the report, was to take a look and see if the Woodall Farm could be used for a baseball complex and it fits in quite nicely there on Devonshire, right up against the residential land, acting as a buffer between the residential and future industrial land to the east." The report also lays out a future 2nd phase that would include a new outdoor swimming pool and $15-million twin rink ice pad. Those future, optional costs could drive the project upwards of $24-million. But at this point, DeHaan says that phase is a hypothetical look into the future. "We thought what happens if council decides not to invest in the existing facilities (Lions Pool, Civic Arena) and decides to start from scratch? Could new replacement facilities be located at this location also?" Council will receive the report on Thursday night. The report will then go to a 30-day public comment period. (In Photo: Proposed layout for Phase 1 of Baseball Complex)

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