New recreation complex to be named after Schlegel family after $2.3M sponsorship agreement

Local soccer players may be converging on “RBJ Schlegel Park” for their matches in 2019.

Soccer pitches are the first of what could be major developments at the South Kitchener District Park, which will take on the Schlegel name because of a historic agreement.

It’s being called the first multi-million dollar sponsorship for the City of Kitchener. The Schlegel family contributing $2.3-million dollars to acquire the naming rights to the park.

RBJ Schlegel CEO James Schlegel says it was important to honour the family history, as well as provide a recreational facility that the community can enjoy.

“I just thought it was appropriate,” he said, “Our family’s had a long-standing history involved in athletics, so we thought it was investing in the physical health of the community, as well as bringing people together and the social health of the community.”

“We really thought that aligned very nicely with our family’s committment to community-building and being physically active, and investing in sport.”

As for seeing the family name attached, Schlegel says it’s very meaningful.

“Frankly, it’s humbling,” he added.

“We’re so proud and privileged and humbled to be partnering with the city on this. We have such a great relationship with our friends at the City of Kitchener, so it’s only appropriate that we partner with them on this project.”

The first phase of the park will include artificial and turf multi-sport fields, as well as a football field.

Other additions include an open community event space, playground, a splash pad and multi-use pathways and trails.

Anything else attached to it, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says, will be up for future councils to decide.

“(That’ll include) setting dollars aside, much of it is already set aside in capital budgets to build out the pool and the different facilities that’ll be built in that area.”

Schlegel says the facility will have something for everyone eventually.

“Soccer pitches initially, aquatics centre and indoor soccer facilities over time,” he said, “And ultimately even a hockey rink.”

We asked Vrbanovic about the possibility of a hockey rink in the future plans.

He was taken aback, but did offer this comment.

“The requests from the community about everything that can be on the site is much greater than what the site can actually hold,” he said, “We’re looking at ways how to best address that, to meet the community’s needs in the most effective way possible.”

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