Chatham-Kent’s Nicest Sports Facility: Fergie Jenkins Field
Hopefully, as we build new facilities, this won’t always be the case, but for the time being, there is no contest here.
The field is well maintained, it’s got good lighting, the bleachers are wonderful and covered, there is a canteen, and next door is the wonderful Ewald Field House.
If the Municipality could look at this as an example of a quality facility, we could learn something.
What you ask?
Well, facilities like this bring money into our community through tournaments. We can’t run hockey tournaments, save for the annual SilverStick, because we don’t have a twin pad, and ice costs during the day are ridiculous. Baseball runs tournaments through the summer, and when people see this field, it’s a positive representation of our community, not an embarrassment.
Size matters. This is a personal opinion, but we aren’t an OHL community. So why put all of that seating into an arena? Unless we bring in several other major corporations and businesses, the sponsorship dollars it takes to run an OHL team aren’t there. Why am I bringing this up? The Fergie Jenkins Field is perfect. The seating is enough to house larger events, but we didn’t need a thousand seats around the field, so why bother? Build to our needs, not beyond. For an arena, we need an above average Junior B seating capacity, that also provides enough flexible seating for events we can handle, like the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling.
Last summer, from time to time I’d grab a coffee, head over to Fergie Jenkins Field, and sit in the stands, watching whatever was going on. And you know what? I wasn’t the only one. Over the summer months, I met a handful of other sports enthusiasts, or just residents looking to enjoy the outdoors, doing the same. If a facility is inviting enough, and nice enough to bring out locals…just because, then it was done right.
As we move forward with life cycle planning, upgrades, renovations, and planning, let’s take a step back and look at what is already working in Chatham-Kent, and how we can learn from it.