Oshawa’s plans are taking shape for the much-needed restoration of the Kinsmen Civic Memorial Stadium.
“We’re really seeing some movement now. This plan is going to be terrific,” said Oshawa Legion Minor Baseball Association president Ken Babcock. “We’re so excited about this. It’s a long time coming and we can’t wait to see the plan roll out.”
The outdoor baseball stadium on Arena Street, south of the Children’s Arena, has grandstands, bullpens, lighting, a ticket booth, storage bunker, and washroom/office facility. Many of the Kinsmen stadium structures and buildings are in a state of disrepair.
“Kinsmen stadium has been a valuable part of the community since 1949. As a fixture in town, it’s in dire need of an upgrade on a number of levels,” said Babcock.
A variety of smaller repairs and improvements have been done over the years — including the upgraded field lighting and electrical bunker most recently in 2018.
In 2021, Oshawa council decided to hire a consultant to plan a comprehensive redevelopment of the stadium to address everything from the aging infrastructure to accessibility. The report was released in November.
The conceptual plan includes eight upgrades:
1. A new accessible entrance at the southwest corner of the site, which connects with accessible pathways through the site to provide barrier free access to all amenities.
2. Ticket booth and commentator’s booth adjacent to the new entrance.
3. Permanent bleachers with accessible seating.
4. Site grading and drainage, to fix the current ponding on the playing field.
5. Two covered player’s benches and two covered batting cages.
6. Slightly larger and fully accessible change room/washroom building.
7. An operation building to store maintenance equipment.
8. Replacement of damaged concrete outfield panels with panels that maintain the heritage look and feel.
Oshawa’s Kinsmen Civic Memorial Stadium was built in honour of fallen Second World War troops, and officially opened on May 21, 1949. The stadium is classified as a Heritage Oshawa property — including the original concrete outfield walls, overgrown with thick ivy.
The next step is the detailed design of the stadium renovation, which is expected to be finalized in 2022. The costs will be debated in the 2023 budget process. An early estimate (which will need further refinement during the detailed design) was $4.7 million.
The initial plan was to phase construction over two years — with 2023 construction focused on field amenities and accessibility, and 2024 construction working on the buildings.
Oshawa councillors asked staff to also bring back an option for an all-together construction plan. There are concerns about raising costs and increased inconvenience for the sport with a two-year plan.
“I’m uncomfortable with the idea of doing this as a phased approach. I think this is a very important facility for our city,” said Coun. Brian Nicholson.
A renovated Kinsmen stadium will help the Oshawa Legion Minor Baseball Association attract high-level events, which bring an economic boost for the city, Babcock explained. The association has its sights set on hosting a national baseball tournament at the new Kinsmen stadium.
“Oshawa has the reputation for being a baseball place,” said Babcock.