The Waskasoo community association is working on a three phased approach to revitalize their community space at 45th Avenue and 58th Street. (Photo by Murray Crawford/Advocate staff)

Redeveloping community space in Red Deer neighbourhood paying off

What was once an empty grass field with an aging playground in one corner has become a community gathering space in Waskasoo.

The community association is working hard to transform the community space near the intersection of 45 Avenue and 58th Street.

It is really the only community space in the Waskasoo neighbourhood, said community association president Darcy Garrett.

“There’s not much for the community,” said Garrett. “There are schools in the area, but there’s not really many community spaces.

“The only playground structure for community kids is there and it was very under utilized. The structures there are very old and not built well for small kids.”

The redevelopment started following a community needs assessment through the city. The first phase was installing a community garden a couple of years ago. Garrett said the garden has been very successful and increased the use of the park.

The next stage is to build a gazebo on the land.

“It would serve as a gathering space for the community,” said Garrett. “It would also take the water off of the roof to feed the garden.”

The 24-foot-by-24-foot gazebo is designed to collect rainwater for the community garden, it can store about a cubic metre of water.

The third phase of the community space redevelopment is a natural playground. The playground is still in the planning stages, but they are actively fundraising for the gazebo. It costs about $105,000 for the gazebo and through corporate sponsors and community members they have raised about half of the money they will need. They are applying to the Alberta government for a matching provincial grant, but they estimate they will still need to raise about $5,000.

“We’ve seen a massive increase in use of that park since we put the garden in,” said Garrett. “The community association has hosted barbecues and movie night in the park for a few years and we’ve seen a big increase in the amount of people who come out to these events.”

To raise money for the gazebo, the association is fundraising with both a community garage sale and an online silent auction. The garage sale takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Gateway Christian School, 4210 59th St. The silent auction can be viewed at www.32auctions.com/waskasoo.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

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