City unveils ‘visionary’ Rotary Park plan

The Rotary Recreation Park could be transformed into a green downtown oasis connected by a wide pedestrian thoroughfare connecting ice and water sports centres featuring a competition-length pool and new dual arenas.

The Rotary Recreation Park could be transformed into a green downtown oasis connected by a wide pedestrian thoroughfare connecting ice and water sports centres featuring a competition-length pool and new dual arenas.

An ambitious concept plan unveiled Wednesday moves around features such as the ice skating oval, lawn bowling green and horseshoe pits to create a revamped park ringed by a lit walking trail and beautified with a large pond. Running the length of the park from the Golden Circle to the Red Deer Arena would be a walkway that would become a central feature and pedestrian draw.

The recently renovated Recreation Centre could be transformed into an aquatics centre with 50-metre indoor pool, a long-cherished ambition of local competitive swimmers.

The existing outdoor pool would be removed and replaced with other outdoor swimming areas and spray parks further south.

In between the Red Deer Arena and the Kinex Arena, two new indoor ice surfaces could be built creating what planners billed as youth and ice zones. The skating oval could be moved to Barrett Park and two outdoor rinks built.

Eliminating the existing curling rink would create more parking and a bigger venue for the popular Saturday morning public market.

There was little talk of cost and time frames were left deliberately vague a crowd of about 70 people were told during the presentation at Red Deer Lodge.

Colleen Jensen, the city’s community services director, called the plan a “vision” of what could happen in the area and alluded to 100-year-old plans that exist for New York’s Central Park and Vancouver’s Stanley Park among other landmark green spaces.

“I wouldn’t expect this is a 100-year plan, but we’re probably looking at a 25-year plan,” said Jensen, who did not want to leave anyone with the expectation that it will happen overnight. “But I do want to set the expectation that it will happen.”

Mayor Morris Flewwelling was largely encouraged by the study, which is an offshoot of the Greater Downtown Action Plan, a blueprint to transform the city core into a more vibrant area.

“One word that comes is renewal,” he said of the latest planning vision by a design team comprised of Red Deer’s Group2 Architecture Engineering Ltd. and Michael von Hausen of South Surrey, B.C.-based MVH Urban Planning and Design Inc.

“We sometimes grow complacent with what we have and we don’t see the view with fresh eyes. And that’s what they’ve done here.

“I think the challenge is going to be funding and the scheduling and the implementation.”

The city already has a long-term capital plan that has more than $1 billion worth of projects earmarked, such as a new north-side arena.

“We can’t just say, ‘Sorry, you’ve got to wait.’ That’s going to be the tough part.”

Bob Diewold, president of the Red Deer Silver Sharks Masters Swim Club, wondered how many communities have downtown space available that could be transformed into the kind of park and recreation centre being considered.

“It seems to me to be an opportunity not to be missed.”

Parkvale Community Association’s Dawna Morey issued some words of caution about the plan, which removes a parking lot in front of the Red Deer and District Museum and Art Gallery.

Morey said there is a concern that drawing more people to the area will add to already-existing parking problems if something isn’t done to take that into consideration.

Group2 Architecture’s Craig Webber said the concept plan will now be further refined by incorporating public input, such as the suggestions gathered on comment sheets handed out at the presentation. Preliminary cost estimates and technical reviews will be included in a final report expected to be complete in late November.

Just Posted

Parenting: Every woman will have a different pregnancy experience

Wife whose hormones are unbalanced can be unpleasant experience

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Saudi Arabia spat affecting Canadians embarking on hajj, community members say

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa… Continue reading

Tug carrying up to 22,000 litres of fuel capsizes in Fraser River off Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month