The downtown wading pool in Red Deer’s Centennial Park could be replaced next year with a different kind of water feature.
When asked what amenities they would like to see in Centennial Plaza Park in future, Red Deerians expressed fairly wide-ranging suggestions for the outdoor space, south of the downtown McDonald’s restaurant at Alexander Way. These included a new water-related installation, more seating and picnic areas.
City parks superintendent Trevor Poth said he received good feedback from residents and business owners through a survey, workshop and open house. Among the suggestions for the urban park — which now contains a children’s wading pool, public washrooms, arches and an art installation and the historic Michener Fountain — was more integration with surrounding commercial activities.
Poth said this might be achieved through installing more seating and encouraging market activities with small kiosks, as are popular in NYC’s Bryant Park.
The existing wading pool caused controversy when a local parent complained in 2015 it was being used as a bath by homeless people. Earlier this year, City Council approved funding for plans for the park’s redesign. Built in 2004, the space was approaching the end of its lifespan, and Alberta Health Services had required that infrastructure concerns, regarding the pool’s fountains, be resolved.
Facing an expensive retrofitting of the pool, parks staff decided to see if the public wanted to keep it, or replace it with something else. Poth said most respondents suggested swapping the wading pool for a different water feature, such as a fountain.
Survey results are expected to be discussed by council this spring. Poth hopes money for the park’s redevelopment will be approved later this year, for work to be done in 2018.
The wading pool was not filled last summer and is not expected to operate in 2017.