Park planned as centennial tribute

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 08:33 am

Quinn Page-Smith (left) and Becky Mowatt stand near the site for the Turner Valley Parent and Teacher Association’s wheelchair accessible Legacy Park at Turner Valley School. Mowatt presented the project to Turner Valley council earlier this month
Quinn Page-Smith (left) and Becky Mowatt stand near the site for the Turner Valley Parent and Teacher Association’s wheelchair accessible Legacy Park at Turner Valley School. Mowatt presented the project to Turner Valley council earlier this month
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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A group of Turner Valley parents are hoping to pay tribute to the last century with a historical playground to be enjoyed for generations to come.

The Turner Valley Parent and Teacher Association is beginning work on fundraising and grant applications to build a $750,000 playground and history wall in the Turner Valley School yard. Association chairperson Becky Mowatt said she wants to see the project completed by September.

“There are so many different ways for creativity to inspire kids,” she said. “It goes so much beyond the park itself. It is about inspiring the future generations.”

According to the plan, the 16,000-square-foot recreational space will include 12,000 square feet of playground with wheelchair accessible ramps and various structures including a net climber, sand box, castle structure and swings where the existing playground is located. The equipment will be added to existing structures, she said. The remaining space will be used for a concrete boulevard with trees and picnic tables.

The most unique component of the plan is a history wall proposed for the west side of the school consisting of four three-by-five-foot panels containing history of the area, province and country from 1914 on, said Mowatt.

The project is being titled Legacy Park.

“We want it to be a legacy of the area,” she said. “It’s going to be a huge educational piece for both students and parents. It will be a lot of local history, but also provincial and Canadian history all tied together.”

Mowatt said making the playground accessible for students with physical disabilities was the reason behind the plan when the idea was first raised two years ago. The existing ground cover is pea gravel.

“There are some students who wear (leg) braces and the accessible surfacing makes a difference for that,” she said.

The Legacy Park project will be broken down into numerous phases so work can be completed in small steps as funding is available. She said she hopes all funding will be in place in time to get the park completed this summer.

“If we can’t get all the money we can get as many phases (done) as we can,” she said. “There is about a six-week lead time on needing the equipment. I feel we still have several months to try to get support.”

Mowatt said the project was endorsed by the Foothills School Division, which does not fund the construction of school playgrounds.

She approached Turner Valley town council with the association’s plans for Legacy Park at its Jan. 13 council meeting, requesting a letter of support so they can begin applying for grants and donations. The school raised about $2,000 toward the project in a Christmas raffle, she said.

Mayor Kelly Tuck commended Mowatt on the project and encouraged her to apply for the Town of Turner Valley community grant.

“One of the things I like about this is handicapped accessibility,” she said.

Coun. Gerald Pfeil suggested the association approach Oilfields High School’s woodworking department about building benches for the project.

Mowatt put a request to council for the Town to construct a sidewalk along the north side of Royal Avenue and have crosswalks on the street. Mowatt was told the request will go to the Safety Task Force established by council to address the need for sidewalks, crosswalks, speed bumps and changes to speed limits in town following concerns expressed by residents about the safety of children.

Those interested in making a donation or helping with the project can call Turner Valley School at 938-7359 or email tvcouncil@fsd38.ab.ca


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