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Feedback sought for Jim Koe Park
GNWT expected to cover cost of ball diamond and soccer field

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Four years after the demolition of Samuel Hearne Secondary School, the Town of Inuvik is looking to redevelop Jim Koe Park and significantly upgrade its sporting capabilities.

NNSL photograph

This drawing shows a proposed layout for the redevelopment of Jim Koe Park. The town is looking for feedback from the public until Aug. 9. - image courtesy of the Town of Inuvik

The Government of the Northwest Territories owes the town a new soccer field and baseball diamond after using the previous pitches for land in the construction of East Three School, which replaced SHSS and Sir Alexander Mackenzie School.

The Town of Inuvik is now seeking feedback on two proposed plans for the park, which both include two fenced slo-pitch fields and one soccer field, along with washrooms, stands and concession areas.

Currently, only the old slo-pitch field in the park remains, with the rest of the area left a rocky and dirty demolition site.

"The two (new) fields should be covered by the GNWT, as that's the deal that they made at the time," said Coun. Natasha Kulikowski, who has been eager to see the park redeveloped.

"Any other enhancements we make to Jim Koe Park - concession stands, washrooms - would come out of town budget."

The two drawings the town has produced are similar except for placement of the soccer field and second slo-pitch field.

In one drawing, the slo-pitch fields are separated by the soccer field in the middle, and the other drawing has the slo-pitch fields next to each other, with the soccer field edging next to the Children First Centre.

Barry Jacobson, president of the Inuvik Slo-Pitch Association, said redeveloping the park would be great for the town.

"I like the idea of having both baseball fields closer together, rather than having the soccer field in between," he said.

It would allow the league to hold more games at once and larger tournaments.

Kulikowski encourages residents to provide their feedback on the drawings.

"It's super important that we have places for the kids to play (and) places for kids to learn other sports besides ball," she said.

"We have a lack of fields in town right now and young kids aren't able to get out and learn how to play soccer, football, even frisbee. Having more fields in town definitely would be better for our whole community."

Some people have suggested things not in the current drawings, such as using part of the space for a dog park or volleyball court.

Kulikowski leans to the drawings the town has produced, as they maximize the space. Also, the GNWT paying for redevelopment is likely contingent on replacing what was lost rather than coming up with something new.

Public input for the redevelopment of Jim Koe Park will be taken by the town until Aug. 9. Pending the GNWT's agreement, the town hopes to begin work on the new park next year.

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