At times it got heated. Some want the structure torn down. Others want the structure saved. With Sanford Avenue School slated for demolition in the coming weeks a community meeting was held at Cathy Wever School to discuss the topic of what should be done with the eighty year old structure.

Those in favour of the destruction of Sanford Avenue School seek more green space for the community and for students of the Cathy Wever school, and those who use the recreation centre on the property, which is provided by the Wever Community Hub. The site has a deficit of green space.

In addition to that green space the Wever Hub is without a gymnasium to use for their programs. Prior to 2010, while Sanford was still open as a holing school, the Hub could make use of Sanford’s gyms. Now that the school has been shuttered for good and the boiler is inopperational, the gyms aren’t available.

Cathy Wever’s gymnasium isn’t available until after 6pm when the school is done with it, a time that is to late for the Hub’s after school programs.

The site plan shows an expanded Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre and a full soccer pitch occupying the space opened up by Sanford. Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli and a member of city staff was on hand at the meeting and stated that site designs could begin by 2014-15 with a new expanded rec centre opened to the public and children by 2016. That date is fluid and bars any delays that could pop up.

There used to be green space on the site. That green space was removed when Cathy Wever school was built in 2006 with the board’s eventual plan to tear down Sanford to restore green space to the block.

My childhood tshirt from Sanford Avenue School

I attended Sanford Avenue school for seven years as a child and as a student there we … never used the green space on the property. Everything beyond the fenced in slab of asphault that was our playground was off limits to the students during school hours. The track, playground structure, the park and even the tennis courts were not allowed to be used. Teachers stood at the boundaries of the playground and prevented students from playing on the grass.

In fact as it is now the students of Cathy Wever aren’t allowed onto the playground of Sanford Avenue School either.

Half of the area cited on the map for a soccer field is still sitting as pavement. The area is the former playground of Sanford School and is fenced off, forbidden to students. This space could be easily be convereted to green space and double the play space of Cathy Wever.

By green space I of course refer to grass. Cathy Wever does have a small section of green space on their playground, but that isn’t grass. It’s some sort of artificial turf surface.

A local small business owner also suggested that she could lease the gymsnasiums from the board and repair the broken boilers. These gyms could then be open for use by the Weber Hub. A board rep said that this was problematic for a number of reasons.

Can both sides end up happy after all is said and done? Can a compromise be worked out. Can the rec centre be expanded, green space be added to the block and Sanford School be saved?

Yes it can.

But is it too late?

I am an avid follower of sports in the Hamilton region with a passion for sport. If it's a sport and if it's in Hamilton, I'll bring it to you. I'm also a big follower, advocate and knowledge nut about transit in Hamilton. (@HSRTransit) Ask me anything! Catch daily Hamilton sports recaps and highlights on the Bay Observer here: http://bayobserver.ca/category/sports-updates/

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