Benson Center gym would lead to ‘less screen time, more play time’

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The principal behind a proposed multi-purpose facility addition to the Benson Center says the multi-million dollar facility is not meeting the public’s needs.

“Some of their needs are not well served by the existing facility,” Mr. John DiLabio, Principal of Welch LLP, told council Monday night.

The same man who spearheaded the Cornwall Curling Center, said they want to have the facility proposal shovel-ready in order to tap into the federal government’s promised infrastructure funding.

But DiLabio said if the funding came too quickly from the senior government before the public portion could be raised they would need the city to “bridge them” for financing.

DiLabio said the facility would include a climbing wall for children, tennis courts, basketball courts, pickle ball courts and the soccer fields.

Coun. Bernadette Clement talked about trying to add a gym to the Benson Center during the last city council. She explained that the previous council was having “none of it” because it would be competing with the private sector.

Clement said she was looking forward to seeing a report from city administration. “If you’re going to have more people being active, it’s a good thing,” Clement said.

Like Coun. Andre Rivette, Clement also wanted to hear how parking would be addressed with more people at the site on Seventh Street.

The expansion is suspected to cost at least $3 million though the proponents said it would not come as a burden to the local taxpayer. Earlier estimates had the project pegged at $2 million but DiLabio didn’t want to be “bogged down” in the financial aspects at this point.

A report from city administration will be coming back at the end of May.

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