The City of Ottawa has touched home plate in its efforts to bring baseball back to the capital, Mayor Jim Watson has announced.
© File photo
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
Speaking Wednesday as part of his “State of the City” address, Mr. Watson said the municipality has signed a lease agreement with the Can-Am baseball league that will see a team play out of the Ottawa Stadium on Coventry Road starting in 2015.
The deal formally brings to an end a years-long process during which the city attempted to find a new tenant for the space.
The stadium has been little used the past few years as Mr. Watson attempted to bring a professional team back to the city. He hoped to convince a Double-A team – two steps below Major League Baseball – to move to Ottawa.
Those negotiations fell apart last fall, however, which forced the city to agree to bring a Can-Am team back to the city. The league previously had a club playing out of the stadium, but the team folded after just one season in 2008.
Mr. Watson also outlined a new initiative to help with the city’s “streetscaping” – the decorations and other amenities such as benches and flower arrangements that make streets appealing to visitors.
He said he’s received permission from the province to add new murals to the underpasses that take motorists, cyclists and pedestrians underneath the Queensway. The initiative will draw inspiration from the Little Italy-themed paintings that adorn the walls along Preston Street.
“It presents a wonderful ‘streetscape’ image that really brightens the usually dark and dingy overpass,” read a copy of Mr. Watson’s prepared remarks. “A little paint and a lot of creativity can go a long way.”
The mayor said he wants to have new murals along thoroughfares such as Parkdale Avenue and Metcalfe, Bank and Kent streets.
Mr. Watson also declared a plan, outlined in last year’s speech, to reduce the amount of litter along Elgin Street a success.
Increasing the number of disposal options on the street has increased the amount of glass, metal and plastic that gets recycled from 62 per cent to 92 per cent, he said.
He said he plans to replicate the project on Laurier Street East.