The 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan was developed to serve as a guiding document for future decision-making on how to get the most value from the City’s limited parkland and the facilities within them, while fulfilling the recreational wants and needs of residents. The plan made several recommendations for potential improvements at Northam Park not previously included in past-year upgrades to the Tremont Pool, playground and parking lot.
In response to these recommendations, the Parks & Recreation Department initiated a project for the schematic design of infrastructure improvements to the athletic fields and tennis court complex, and commissioned MSA Sport to lead this process. Given the well-established nature of Northam Park and its existing uses, the intent of this project is not to redesign or reprogram the park but to study and develop a long-term plan for enhancements to those existing athletic and civic facilities that are in need of renovation or replacement.
This study process began in January of 2020. At its conclusion, MSA will provide a “Vision Package” for improvements that will include renderings and schematic drawings. It will also include phasing information and cost estimates, to assist the Parks & Recreation Department as it schedules improvements within the Parks Capital Improvement Program.
The study timeline has been extended. As MSA further refined concepts and began to develop cost estimates, it became clear that a detailed underground drainage plan addressing stormwater runoff should be developed and implemented as the next step. Fixing the fundamental issue of flooding within the park would then better inform MSA and the City about the necessary scope for future improvements to the athletic fields and tennis courts.
As a first step in the study process, a series of focus groups were held in late January 2020, designed to obtain input from members of the community that make frequent use of the existing facilities. These meetings included field sports representatives, members of the Northam Park Tennis Courts, community event representatives and park neighbors.
In addition to reviewing the feedback obtained from the focus groups, MSA undertook a detailed review of existing conditions, consulted with clay court vendors and experts, and began preliminary design concepts for improvements.
In the summer, residents were invited to participate in a second round of engagement, at which time preliminary conceptual designs were shared. This included a community meeting and an online survey. Approximately 70 residents joined the community meeting via Zoom or Facebook and 462 residents completed the online survey.
As MSA further refined concepts and began to develop cost estimates, it became clear that a detailed underground drainage plan addressing stormwater runoff should be developed and implemented as the next step. Fixing this fundamental issue of flooding within the park would then inform the necessary scope of future improvements for the athletic fields and tennis courts, enabling MSA to develop more accurate cost estimates for future phasing.
Placeholder funding for a phased approach to Northam Park improvements has been identified in the proposed 10-year Parks Capital Improvement Program, which will be reviewed by Council in November and early December. The tentative schedule for improvements is as follows:
- 2021 – detailed design and construction of initial underground drainage infrastructure to begin to address stormwater runoff issues
- 2022 – replacement of the park service building (restrooms and storage)
- 2023 – renovation of the west half of the athletic fields
- 2024 – renovation of the east half of the athletic fields
Drainage is one of the most significant issues for the Northam tennis court complex. Therefore, our intent is to design, install and observe the impact of drainage improvements while also addressing other needed repairs to the Northam tennis complex including pavement, fence, and irrigation. Also, park service building improvements contemplated in 2022 will provide improved amenities for all of park users, including tennis. It is premature to provide a target date for replacement of the court surfaces, but the quality of play of the tennis court will remain a priority.
Summer Community Engagement Activities
- Online Survey: July 30-August 11
- Community Meeting: July 29
Look for Associated Documents here. To view all Presentations and Survey Results, search our Archives Portal – Parks Projects using the Northam Park Fields & Tennis project name.