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Dick Waddington Honoured with Naming of Park

May 24, 2008 - As of today, the 17-acre recreation complex that includes the Current River Arena, Community Centre and the surrounding baseball diamonds, soccer field and playground is officially known as Waddington Park. The City celebrated former Councillor Dick Waddington's passion for baseball and, most importantly, for Current River by naming the park after him at a special dedication ceremony.

Waddington was first elected to City Council in 1980 and served as the Current River Ward Councillor for 21 years. His involvement with the Current River Little League Program spanned more than 35 years. He was a supporter and then a key political leader behind the development of the recreation complex now known as Waddington Park.

The naming was recommended to City Council by the current Ward Councillor Andrew Foulds in honour of Waddington's vision and hands on contributions to the park. Council agreed, realizing a long-held wish of the Current River Recreation Association.

"This is really well deserved," said Mayor Lynn Peterson. "A true community builder, he was persistent in making steady progress toward turning 17 acres of swampland into a beautiful, active park and recreational complex."

Added Councillor Foulds: "As a coach, Mr. Waddington had a profound effect and helped to create a first-class facility for everyone to enjoy. Through these efforts he demonstrated a civic commitment that deserves to be recognized by all who use the park."

Arlene Halverson, President of the Current River Community Centre, wrote: "His dedication to the Current River Community was phenomenal. The vision Mr. Waddington had for the park has truly become a success story for every person that uses it."

A retired businessman, Waddington served on many boards and commissions over his years on Council - from the Conservation Authority to Hydro to Social Services - and, while Current River was always top of mind, he worked for the betterment of the City as a whole.

"Mr. Waddington is the reason we have a first class group of baseball diamonds for all players ages 4 to 18," said Bill Saari, President of Current River Little League, in a letter to Council in support of the naming. "Many people have memories of Mr. Waddington taking teams to the United States sometimes covering the expense out of his own pocket. These kinds of memories do last a lifetime."

"This is an honour," said Mr. Waddington "It wasn't something I was expecting. I have so many fond memories from the hundreds of hours I spent coaching numerous kids over the years. I got far more out it than I ever put into it. I certainly didn't do this on my own. There were countless volunteers and, of course, there's the Current River Recreation Association."

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Contact: Greg Alexander, General Manager - Community Services, 625-3320