After more than a month of construction, the City of Prince Albert officially unveiled the new playground facilities at AC Howard Park on Wednesday.
The new equipment includes an inclusive oodle swing, belt bridge with railing, pod climbers and a double slide, among other things. Parks Manager Tim Yeaman said it was a relief to cross another park of their to-do list.
“We’re just very thankful that this community now has a great play space for the children,” Yeaman said during a short press conference on Thursday. “There are some great options for play equipment.”
“These conversations took place two years ago, and it’s taken a long time to get to this point, but I’m certain that this is something the community is going to be proud of,” he added.
City crews still have a few upgrades to install before they move on to the next project. The list includes three more picnic tables, new park lights, and additional recycling and garbage containers.
Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards said the lack of playground facilities at AC Howard were a common concern among local residents. Previously, the park only had a few swing sets, which have remained on site.
“I heard it loud and clear on the doorsteps over four years ago and then during the last campaign,” Edwards said on Wednesday. “The residents said, ‘we need something better in this beautiful park,’ and Tim thankfully brought this forward and we worked with some residents, Karen Pikaluk being one of them, and really pushed to get something done.”
Yeaman also credited Pikaluk and other local residents for pushing to get the project started. He said the development was a “long time coming” but working with nearby residents helped speed things up.
Pikaluk said she made it her mission to get some new playground facilities built after noticing there wasn’t much available in the area for her grandkids, outside of a few school playgrounds that could only be used at certain times.
She’s happy to have something nearby that families can conveniently access.
“It was a lot of emails, a lot of phone calls, a lot of conversations about getting to this point,” Pikaluk said. “I do understand there’s a budget, and lots of (other) priorities, but it worked, and they (the City) were awesome to deal with.
“It just looks amazing—very nice and very updated,” she added. “I think it will be a great asset to the City.”
The new park facilities cost $130,000, most of which came from the Playground Replacement Program.
With the AC Howard redevelopment nearly completed, Yeaman said they’re turning their attention to the outdoor fitness centre at the Alfred Jenkins. That project experienced some delays, but Yeaman expects work crews to finish it by the end of August at the latest.
They’ll also start looking at upgrades for the Carlton Park Community Club area, something Yeaman said could be a challenge.
“There’s really not a space for a playground, so we wanted to take a look at something different,” he explained. “We’re going to be creative. We’re not going to release what it is that we will be doing up there at this time, because there still is some conversation and planning that needs to take place, but the Carlton (Park) Community Club will be the next (project) for 2022.”
AC Howard Park is located on Bliss Crescent, in the southeast corner of Prince Albert.