Park name among issues: survey

Red Deer citizens are getting a chance to speak up about Rotary Recreation Park.

Rondo Wood of Red Deer writes down some ideas on a map of the Rotary Recreation Park as Tammy Greba of the City of Red Deer looks on. Red Deer Residents were invited to an open house at the Golden Circle to give their input as to how the recreation area should be developed in the future.

Red Deer citizens are getting a chance to speak up about Rotary Recreation Park.

No, not the playground and picnic area behind Red Deer Lodge — that’s Rotary Park. Rotary Recreation Park is the larger green space that encompasses the area the Red Deer Recreation Centre sits on, as well as the Golden Circle, the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Heritage Village, the Red Deer Arena, the winter skating oval, and tennis courts.

Confusion about the park’s name and location are the first things consultants found while conducting a public survey at the Golden Circle on Tuesday. “Some people are telling us it needs a distinct name,” said Craig Webber, of Group 2 Architects, which is working for the City of Red Deer.

Other city residents were putting sad face stickers, indicating their disapproval, on a map showing large cement parking lots in front of the Red Deer Recreation Centre and the Red Deer arena, as well as the unpaved gravel lot beside the tennis courts.

Webber said he won’t know until more detailed surveys are reviewed what people don’t like about the lots.

But the public applied many happy face stickers to the Recreation Centre, the museum and tennis courts.

They were less satisfied with the lawn bowling facility in the winter skating oval. One man said it looked like an untended dandelion field.

Wade Brown, chairman of operating costs for the Central Alberta Aquatics, facility believes what’s missing is an aquatic facility with a 50-metre Olympic-sized pool, diving tanks and weight training facilities. He envisions locating this large centre south of the present outdoor pool.

But Parkvale area resident Murray Rasmusson believes the park has a good balance of recreational versus natural areas now.

He said having such a large green space in the middle of the city is so special, it should be preserved and enhanced with more walking trails, flower beds and fountains.

Many people seemed satisfied with the heritage village, but not Norwegian Laft Hus founder Betty Wuff.

The idea was to make the Laft Hus part of an international heritage village with buildings from different cultures, Wuff said. She imagines moving the distinctive Norwegian building with grass on the roof to a larger space, where other cultural groups would have room to build their own heritage features.

Public opinions will be incorporated into a concept plan to be completed this fall. Webber said the long-term vision for the park will be tied to the Greater Downtown Action Plan.

City residents who didn’t attend Tuesday’s open house can complete an online survey at reddeer.ca, under parks and recreation.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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