Frank Heaps

Frank Heaps

North end favoured for new skateboard park

The north end is emerging as the preferred site for a new skateboard facility based on input from local residents.

The north end is emerging as the preferred site for a new skateboard facility based on input from local residents.

The City of Red Deer took its plans for new recreational facilities, including a spray park, skateboard park and upgrades to Great Chief Park, to the public on Saturday to get people’s thoughts on what is proposed and where they should be located.

Among the proposals is upgrading the city’s skateboard park by either expanding the existing downtown site or finding another location.

Deb Comfort, neighbourhood facilities and community development supervisor, said among the new potential sites are at G.H. Dawe Community Centre, Glendale Middle School, at 6375 77th St., and Clearview subdivision.

The public have expressed most support for the Dawe and Glendale sites, she said at an open house at the Dawe Centre Saturday afternoon. A similar open house was held at the Collicutt Centre in the morning.

Sites being considered for the spray park are Rotary Recreation Park, Glendale School, Clearview subdivision, G.H. Dawe Community Centre and Kin Canyon.

Comfort said there has been some support at city hall for a downtown site as part of revitalization efforts in the city’s core. However, some want to see new facilities on the north side to provide more recreation for families living there.

The public have mostly expressed support for either the Dawe, Glendale or Rotary sites, she said.

Detailed design work has not been done yet, but the cost of the spray park is estimated at $1.1 to $1.4 million.

Construction on both the skateboard and spray parks is expected to take place in the next three or four years depending on council’s budget priorities.

Councillor Frank Wong wants to see the new recreational facilities on the north side of the river to provide fair opportunities for all families.

“That’s where one-third of the population lives — north of the river,” he said.

Wong likes the Glendale site for the new spray park. “We’ve had open space there for 15 years and it’s not developed. And it’s next to a school. It could be a joint use.”

Council will get a report on the spray and skateboard parks on Dec. 12.

They are expected to make a decision on where they should go at that time.

A report on Great Chief Park improvements for the next 10 years will go to council sometime in the new year.

Changes have been proposed to make Great Chief more of a recreation destination. The city is considering moving the speed skating oval to the site and making it a better venue for events such as Canada Day celebrations by adding more parking, bus drop-off points, and additional paths with an eye to linking to a future pedestrian bridge over the river.

Also being considered is a new concession area and larger change rooms for sports teams. Another option would see a fenced area created that could be used as a beer garden. Artificial turf has also been talked about but it has been pushed beyond the existing 10-year capital budget.

Council has already allocated some money towards the upgrades.

Work has already started on irrigation upgrades and new fencing and electrical and lighting improvements will be done next.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate