MORE than $700,000 worth of work is taking place at George Little Park this year in the form of renovations and improvements to the children’s playground, to the seniors’ exercise location and in the addition of a splashpark.
Involved are contributions from the two local Rotary clubs, the Kinsmen Club of Terrace and the City of Terrace directly and through securing grants.
Most prominent will be the splashpark, a project of the Rotary Club of Terrace and the Rotary Club of Terrace-Skeena Valley which began with a price tag of $250,000 that has since risen to over $300,000.
But even with a cost higher than first anticipated, donations of cash and in-kind have even exceeded the new figure, says project treasurer Rich Toomey.
And the result is more features than first planned, he said.
The original $250,000 goal of the two Rotary clubs didn’t include site preparation, engineering/surveying or signage, said Toomey.
And even with a new cost of $305,000, Toomey says money already collected or promised and with in-kind donations helping out, the final value total raised should be in the $355,000 range.
“The park was designed to allow for at least three additional features. We are also considering benches for parents,” said Toomey of what might be added with the additional monies raised.
Those features are called ‘plug and play points’ in that they can be removed from their water connections during the winter and safely stored.
Work has intensified at the project which is part and parcel with a rejuvenation of the existing children’s playground.
“We are working in partnership with the city who are doing a complete renovation of the kids’ playground area. Total install time was estimated at five weeks so best guess right now is sometime before the end of June,” said Toomey.
When finished, annual maintenance of the splash park will fall to the city.
Toomey said the two clubs were extremely happy at the response for financing to install the splash park.
Raising money began in mid-June 2015 with $55,000 in seed capital from the two clubs augmented by a $50,000 TransCanada/Coastal Gaslink donation in early 2016 but then the drive stalled, he said.
The clubs added $25,000 this spring, which included a district Rotary grant of $10,000 but there was still a large gap leading to the construction start, Toomey added.
“We were not sure we would be able to raise what we needed in time. Rotary appealed to the business community in Terrace and we have been overwhelmed by the response,” said Toomey.
“Rotary would like to thank everyone and every business that has helped us with what we feel will be a legacy project for the community,” said Toomey.
“We did it! In reality, Terrace did it.”
Toomey said the business response was even more amazing considering the city’s lack of large industries unlike Kitimat and Prince Rupert.
The splashpark will be adjacent to the existing children’s playground, installed as a Kinsmen Club of Terrace project in the early 2000s.
The city is attaching a value of $265,000 to work now going on there – $220,000 from itself and in securing grants and $45,000 from the Kinsmen.
“Involved in the project is the removal of old equipment and pea gravel, site prep, concrete curbing, equipment purchase, installation, existing structure refurbishment, and freight,” said city information officer Brian Doddridge in outlining some of what’s involved.
A large piece of original equipment can still be used and the city has attached a legacy value to it of $100,000.
Terrace Kinsmen club member Steve Owens said the club responded to a city plan to make the playground more accessible to more users.
There’ll be equipment for toddlers as well as youngsters up to 12 and equipment for children with mobility issues, he said.
“One piece of equipment will be a basket swing,” he said of the emphasis to provide a user-friendly experience for children with mobility issues.
Owens said the playground will look very different when finished as it will also have a rubberized surface.
“That’s something the city is providing. Our contribution is the equipment,” he said.
The Kinsmen club is financing its contribution through its popular annual riverboat raffle.
“That sells out every year,” said Owens adding that the club’s philosophy is that money it raises stays within the community.
And in addition to the playground renovation and splash park, the city is to make changes on what was originally conceived as a seniors’ fitness centre which is located just north of the library at George Little Park.
Three pieces of equipment there now that aren’t being used much will be replaced by three new pieces of equipment, said Doddridge.
A replacement rubberized surface will also be put down for a total project cost there of $75,000.
That activity centre was one of 18 financed by the province in 2009 as part of an extensive program at the time to encourage people to be more physically active. Up to $100,000 could be spent on each of the 18 projects.
Doddridge said even more work will be carried out, including a connecting pathway and fountain to be located near the playground. He put the city’s own expenditure at the park at approximately $250,000, an amount it expects to augment by receiving various grants.