Hamilton receives $3.6M in federal funding for infrastructure, tourism projects – Hamilton

Half a dozen community infrastructure and tourism projects in Hamilton are getting some funding support thanks to the federal government.

FedDev Ontario is investing over $3.6 million in restoring and revitalizing a number of local spaces, including the Hamilton Children’s Museum and Victoria and Beasley Parks.

Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas MP and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi made the announcement on Friday at Tourism Hamilton’s headquarters in the Lister Block, where $492,682 of the funding will fully cover the cost of creating a mixed-use exhibit and programming space called the Visitor Experience Center to promote the city’s tourism and heritage.

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The money will also go toward restoring St. Mark’s Church at Bay and Hunter Streets, which has sat dormant since it was purchased by the city in the 1990s — it’ll be transformed into a cultural programming space.

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Mayor Fred Eisenberger says he’s most excited about the $450,000 that will go toward expanding the Hamilton Children’s Museum in Gage Park.

“We’ve put money and resources into that facility to keep it sound and safe,” he said.

“We had some structural issues a few years ago that the city made some investments in to keep the Children’s Museum in place. And this expansion, I think, not only promotes accessibility but provides more usable space for the museum, which is very, very popular.”

City manager Janette Smith said the investment is directly in line with the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery.

“We brought a lot of community leaders together to help us look at what are the things we need to invest in and do to support the economic recovery of this city. And no surprise, one of them was tourism.”

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She also said the pandemic highlighted how important it is to have inclusive and accessible places for Hamiltonians.

Here’s a breakdown of how much each project is getting and how much each project will cost overall, as well as an estimated completion date:

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Visitor Experience Center at the Lister Block

The current interior of Tourism Hamilton inside the Lister Block.

Tourism Hamilton

$492,682 in federal funding will cover the entire cost of the mixed-use exhibit and programming space, which is being described as an “enhanced visitor gateway” to Hamilton’s tourism and heritage experiences. It will aim to offer programming opportunities for local creators and exhibit space for community groups. Renovations are expected to start this winter and wrap up by March 2023.

Restoration of St. Mark’s Church

Plans for the restoration of St Mark’s Church.

City of Hamilton

St. Mark’s Church at Bay and Hunter Streets will be transformed into a cultural programming space, with a restored interior, barrier-free entrances and facilities, and a community garden. The federal government is providing $750,000 through FedDev Ontario, $250,000 is coming from the Patrick J. McNally Charitable Foundation, and the total cost is estimated to be $5.5 million. Construction was scheduled to begin this July and is expected to wrap up by summer 2023.

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Hamilton Children’s Museum

A drawing of the imagined renovations at the Hamilton Children’s Museum.

City of Hamilton

The Hamilton Children’s Museum will get a new addition to better accommodate the popularity of the Gage Park attraction, with additional program spaces, a large outdoor gathering space, barrier-free entrances and bathrooms, a children’s garden, two outdoor patio play spaces, and an elevator. The project cost is $4.3 million, with the new FedDev funding covering $450,000 of that. The city is paying about a quarter of the total price tag with $938,800, while the rest of the cost is covered by the provincial and federal governments. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and wrap up by fall 2023.

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Beasley Park

Site plans for the upgrades to Beasley Park.

City of Hamilton

The Beasley Park upgrades will see the creation of pedestrianized urban plaza through the closure of the existing Kelly Street right of way, and the construction of a new accessible path to connect to the park’s existing accessible network. LED pedestrian level lighting will be installed, the decorative fountain will be refurbished, and there will be new trees planted throughout the park. The total cost of the project is $1.2 million and the FedDev funding covers $750,000 of that. Construction will begin this fall and is expected to wrap up by fall 2023.

Victoria Park

Site plans for the upgrades to Victoria Park.

City of Hamilton

The Victoria Park renovations aim to imitate the old Crystal Palace that stood on the site from 1860 to 1891. Upgrades will include replacing the spray pad, creating a new sun shelter, planting more trees, adding more seating, and improving pathway networks. The project’s total cost is $1.02 million and the FedDev Ontario funding will cover $694,000. Work will get underway this fall and is scheduled to be finished by summer 2023.

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Installing Touchless Faucets in Recreation Centers

This project involves installing new touchless faucets in 81 municipal facilities across Hamilton. The whole project is estimated to cost $650,300 and the new funding will cover $472,575. That work will begin this fall and should wrap up by winter 2023.

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