We need to make the most of this chance to turn around a Code Red area of our city, by taking advantage of what the people of this city have to offer in both their knowledge and love for their city.
By Larry Pattison
Published June 03, 2011
The newly appointed committee who will be overseeing the planning of the Ivor Wynne Stadium District must be well aware that the community is screaming to be involved.
The community wants to be more informed with regards to all plans as they relate to stadium and district design: what's happening with properties, schools, scheduling, where the Cats will play in the interim, and many more details - and on a regular basis.
A recent Spectator editorial hits on the fact that there is no time like the present to start the building of a citizen committee, one that will provide input and support and do their part, to ensure everyone knows what council, the Pan Am organizers, the Tiger-Cats, and this proposed citizen group, are mapping out.
Citizens want to know how these plans may affect or benefit them, and want to serve as a sounding board for the city as a whole, to ensure every citizen's concerns, ideas, and dreams, are brought to council's attention.
Spec editor Lee Prokaska said it best:
Openness, transparency, accountability - this is what citizens crave. We don't want less information, we want more. We don't elect representatives so they can behave like sheep. We elect them to represent our interests and fight for what is important to us. Otherwise, what's the point?
It's time we see how involving the public more significantly plays out. What better time to engage the citizenry than for a project that, I feel very confident, will attract a significant request for involvement?
We all want this to be something special. The community does, council does, the Tiger-Cats do and CFL fans from across the country want only the best. What better way to create something extraordinary than to build this together?
Will this just be any other stadium, in any other stadium district, in any other city? Or will Ivor Wynne live alongside the greats like the historical Fenway Park or Wrigley Field or especially, seeing as though we are talking football here, Lambeau Field?
Maybe our planned 25,000 seat stadium and our 500,000 population doesn't compare in scale to the first two cities/stadiums mentioned, but we aren't all that far of the likes of Green Bay; only in the league we are in, is there perhaps a more significant difference.
I have sold the existing stadium and the benefits of focusing on history and a Fenway/Wrigley north experience to great lengths from day one. I think that is the most important thing that we need to remember as we plan this because I strongly and wholeheartedly believe that is what will make this project special.
History. Tradition. Community. Legacy. That is what 75 Balsam and the surrounding grounds has to offer.
Canada can have its own Wrigley (which I believe suits our stadium location most closely), and Hamilton can be the home of that new Canadian sporting - and maybe even concert - destination.
But that's just me. What's more important, is what 'you' - all of you, envision for this unique opportunity that stands with open arms in front of us.
Hamilton has been given a gift. We need to make the most of this chance to turn around a Code Red area of our city, by taking advantage of what the people of this city have to offer in both their knowledge and love for their city.
I think we'll be pleasantly surprised. I believe we'll even inspire, if we have the courage to work together.
Hamilton already proved their ability to be engaged throughout the Pan Am process and I have no doubt, that many of those same people have the passion and desire to continue to be involved in not only the planning of the Pan Am Stadium and Surrounding district, but the building of their city as a whole.
Will we move ahead together, or backward as individuals?
We will quickly find out whether we should continue to be engaged citizens, or if we should simply hand over the keys that in that unfortunate instance, would have never been ours to begin with; and never will.
I think it's time we know.
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