Runners and walkers can now be allowed to return to the track at Oakes Park in Niagara Falls.
The popular Morrison Street facility has closed since October 5 to accommodate an improvement project worth $1.1 million. The project includes renovations to its grandstand, ball diamond, and new lighting.
Works on the LED sports light system for the soccer pitch and track were completed ahead of schedule and the area reopened to the public on November 2.
Oakes Park in Niagara Falls is the prime venue for the Canada Summer Games.
The Games were scheduled to take place in August 2021. However, due to continued health concerns relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been suspended until summer 2022.
The improvement project of the Oakes Park is hoped to be completed in April 2021.
Before that, in spite of the Canada Summer Games being suspended until 2022, the improvements at Oakes Park are underway. Taking into consideration the safety of residents and site construction purposes, the City of Niagara Falls has closed the park at Morrison Street and Stanley Avenue, including its walking track, to the public from October 5.
Jeff Claydon, the city’s landscape architect, said that City council approved budgeted funds to make park improvements to Oakes Park in preparation for the Summer Games; however, the improvements also equally benefit the public, sport tourism, and local sports groups for future years after the event.
The grandstand remains closed since work is being done on the baseball diamond, according to Erik Nickel, the city’s municipal works director. The work includes new bullpens, underdrainage, new dugouts, and a new clay infield.
Oakes Park is one of the most used public facilities of the City of Niagara Falls.
It opened in summer 1931, featuring baseball diamonds, a rugby and lacrosse field, and a six-lane grass running track.
The park is named after Sir Harry Oakes, who deeded 6.4 hectares of farmland for use as an athletic field.