Long-awaited Rotary Adventure Park set to open Monday afternoon

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald Keith Fonstad of the Prince Albert Rotary Club demonstrates the hive skyway of the Rotary Adventure Park on July 28, 2023.

It’s been years in the making, but the opening date for the Rotary Adventure Park has been officially set for early next week.

The process of creating the park began more than five years ago with the Rotary Club’s Centennial Committee. Keith Fonstad, who is a past president of the Prince Albert Rotary Club and was the chair of the Centennial Committee says the construction of the park has been a long process.

“We started this in 2018 with trying to pick an idea. We got this idea figured out here in 2019, and that’s when the process started. We had a little hiccup when COVID happened that gave us some time to do some fundraising, but it definitely delayed this by at least a year for opening.

“Now that we’re here and going through all of that history and got here and to have all the support of our sponsors and our funders and Malcolm to be able to get here and of course the city. It’s just fantastic, I can’t wait to see it full of kids.”

The construction of the Rotary Adventure Park utilized more than 300 cubic meters of topsoil and over 250 cubic meters of play sand. The park is broken into nine distinct zones that will offer different experiences that include 100-foot-long zip lines, a toddler area, a mobius rock climbing wall and swings.

One key vision for the park was to make it challenging for older kids. The mega towers area features a skyway with hive shaped bars and various belts for parkgoers to climb on the way to the slides.

Fonstad says having a playground that has different areas for all ages was something the club strived for.

“When we looked around Prince Albert for a centennial project, something that would be a legacy, we did look at the playgrounds because youth is important to the Rotary Club. We looked at the playgrounds that were in town and the accessibility one at the Alfred Jenkins was just recently new then, and we thought, there’s something for all ages there, but it is a little bit on the easier side, and we thought it would be nice to have something little more challenging for kids that are a little bit older. We targeted equipment that was kind of for that 8 to 14 age group and that’s what the design of the park is for.”

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald (L to R): Malcolm Jenkins, Keith Fonstad and Rotary Club President Austin Atchison pose for a photo in front of the Rotary Adventure Park at Little Red River Park on Friday, July 28.

One of the major investors into the Rotary Adventure Park was the Malcolm Jenkins Family Foundation, which donated $400,000 to the construction. The Prince Albert Rotary Club raised $500,000 and the City of Prince Albert contributed $280,000 to the project.

Fonstad says having Jenkins on board helped shape the park.

“It was fantastic. We went to have a chat with him about what his thoughts were about the project, and he jumped on board without hesitation and (he) kind of added to our vision and made it much bigger than what we’d even considered it initially. So, it was hugely important for the project to be what it is today for having Malcolm involved.”

More improvements are being planned at Little Red River Park in the near future. A camp kitchen is to be constructed near the Rotary Adventure Park and Year-Round washrooms are scheduled for installation near the end of September.

Jenkins says he was proud to help support this project.

“I’ve been involved with one or two parks around town, and this has got to be just the cream of the crop. It’s just got everything and to be associated with is just a real pleasure.

“I came here 33 years ago, and when we took a break after about a couple of months in the store and said, ‘what do you do for the weekend?’ And people said, ‘well, you can go to Melfort and swim in the pool’. I didn’t know what Melfort was (at that time) and I didn’t realize that we had nothing. So now we’ve got a whole bunch of parks, spray parks and stuff. And this is the icing on the cake.”

Jenkin, who owns Canadian Tire in Prince Albert, says giving back to the community is something that is accounted for every year.

“We budget for this every year. We want to do something. We give back and we have for 33 years, and the public has supported us, and we support the public. We’ve just been able to give back a little more every year. And now, we’re doing some really cool big projects because we’ve grown the store and the customers keep coming back and the more money they give us, the more we are able to put back into things.  I am retiring in October, so this is sort of my farewell swan song, but it’s been a wonderful ride and it’s so good to see sprinkled around town we’ve got places where kids can enjoy themselves.”

Opening day for the Rotary Adventure Park is set for 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The park can support more then 300 children at any given time.