Aging dugouts removed from Jamie Baxter Park

And they won’t be replaced

The ballfield dugouts at Jamie Baxter Park have been removed and won’t be replaced. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Dugouts removed in mid-July at the Jamie Baxter Park ballfield won’t be replaced, the first step to what the District of Houston hopes will be an extensive rehabilitation of the park.

“The bottoms of these dugouts were beginning to rot out and were becoming a safety hazard to park users. Parks crews removed the dugouts on July 16 to remove this hazard,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

“The district’s park and recreation master plan, which was adopted in 2018, recommends decommissioning the ball diamond in Jamie Baxter Park, as it presents a hazard to vehicles driving on nearby roads,” he said.

“Staff are reviewing decommissioning costs and developing plans to continue implementing the parks and recreation master plan.”

Jamie Baxter Park at 7.65 hectares runs along West 14th St near the public health centre now contains a skateboard park, a ball diamond, BMX track, playground, outhouses and picnic area.

The 2018 master recreation plan, in which public opinion played a key role in laying out an extensive plan for the district’s outdoor and indoor recreation facilities, recommends a wholesale rehabilitation of the park.

Along with decommissioning the ballfield, the plan suggests ….

— the old campground at the park’s south end may have an opportunity to be redeveloped and managed by a private partner

— removing the central parking area near the ball diamond

— providing a perimeter loop trail

— adding a multi-purpose sports court

— relocating exercise equipment into the park, closer to the seniors activity centre

— adding a dog off-leash area either at the campground spot if it is not redeveloped or at the ball diamond area once it is decommissioned

— revitalizing the bike park which is now in poor condition and is not well used

— building a new playground with, potentially, spray park features

The park’s skateboard park is listed in fair condition and well used.

The park’s amphitheatre is listed as in good condition and a “source of pride for residents,” the master plan indicated. “However, it is currently not used as much as residents think it should be. Residents indicated that some user groups may face barriers related to cost and liability that prevent them from booking events at the amphitheatre.”

Residents responding to a recreation survey as part of the master plan expressed an interest in having a basketball court at a central location such as the park.

“Many communities build multi-purpose courts that can be used for basketball as well as roller hockey, ball hockey, children on tricycles/small bikes, etc,” the study noted.

It also suggested pickleball as a sport which would benefit from a multi-purpose court.

Overall, those who responded to the recreation survey cited Jamie Baxter Park as an important facility in need of an upgrading.

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