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Addition to Fort Erie Park Sign of a Healthy Partnership Between the Town and GFESS

by Matthew Vandervoet | Oct 05, 2020

Addition to Fort Erie Park sign of a healthy partnership between town, GFESS

School gifts new track and field facility to town

Greater Fort Erie Secondary School has gifted a new track and field facility at Ferndale Park to the town. Marking the occasion, from left are, Betsy Oort, acting head of physical education at GFESS, field events coach David Adamek and Deanna Ward, treasurer for the GFESS Student Benefits Group, which raised the $30,000 cost of the facility through special bingo events. - Richard Hutton/Torstar

Track and field athletes at Greater Fort Erie Secondary School won’t be the only ones who will benefit from new facilities in Ferndale Park.

Raising the entire $30,000 cost from bingos, the school turned around and gifted the new amenities — a discus cage, javelin runway and shot put circle to the town, meaning the facilities are available to anyone who wants to use them.

“We were given the opportunity to apply for a special project in addition to the fundraising we normally do,” said Deanna Ward, treasurer for GFESS Student Benefits.


As a result, staff, parents and grandparents were on hand for bingo nights held to raise the needed funds for the project.

“We paid for it and we gifted it back to the town so everyone could use it,” she said.

For Betsy Oort, GFESS’s acting department head for physical education, the new amenities are welcome.

“We’re super excited to add another facility,” she said.

But for David Adamek, GFESS’s a field events coach for the school’s track and field program, the facilities will also be a chance for today’s students to follow in his footsteps. Adamek, graduated from Ridgeway Crystal Beach High School in 2003 and went on to attend Eastern Michigan University on a full track and field scholarship.

“I did these events and got my school paid for,” he said. “I went all over the world.”

While he missed out on qualifying for the Olympics, he was among the top ranked field athletes in Canada and was named a second team All-American twice while at Eastern Michigan.

And now, with the new facility, he’s hoping to train the next generation.

He said that when students first try their hand at the throwing sports like shot put and discus, they take to the sport quickly.

“Once they have some experience, it really opens their eyes,” he said.


Mayor Wayne Redekop, meanwhile, said the gift is another positive in the partnership between the town and GFESS, as the town and school have an agreement that allows the school to use the park.

“It’s a win-win for both the public and the school,” he said.

by Richard Hutton

Richard Hutton is a Reporter-Photographer for Niagara this Week, covering everything from politics to community stories and everything in between in Niagara’s southern tier.

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