Potential CFL stadium generates excitement in Dartmouth business comunity
The possibility of a stadium and CFL franchise coming to Shannon Park is already creating a lot of excitement in north Dartmouth.
“People have been talking about it,” says restaurant owner Shaddy Chedraoui. “There’s kind of a buzz going around the community as a whole. I think people are excited for small businesses like us, it’s a way for us to flourish.”
Chedraoui has owned Hugo's Bar and Grill for six years, located right next to the site proposed to be home to a new 24,000 seat stadium.
“Not only would it be wonderful for our community as a whole, but for the province,” said Chedraoui. “It would create jobs, infrastructure, be great for our economy, and obviously us being in the backyard would help with the business as well.”
Tim Rissesco, the executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, says that enthusiasm is being shared by businesses across Dartmouth.
“People from all over the region would come for the football games and other events in the facility,” Rissesco. “They'd be coming from away, staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants, and shopping downtown, so it would provide an economic boom for Dartmouth if we were to land a stadium.”
For nearly 50 years the Shannon Park site was used as military housing for the Department of National Defense, but has been mostly abandoned since being declared surplus in 2003.
“It's made a big difference in the community,” said resident Cathy Ashton. “There's no grocery store out here anymore, at one time this was a booming mall here on its own.”
Ashton grew up in Shannon Park, and while she wants to see the site redeveloped, she says she has mixed feelings about the proposed stadium site.
“It would be nice to have more senior housing, there's a big need for it, and an area for people who lived in Shannon Park to walk through there,” Ashton said. “I guess I'm more for more of a community atmosphere rather than a stadium.”
Maritime Football plans on gauging fan support by selling season tickets later this month.
The community that hopes to host the team will be watching closely.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.