Buhler Recreation Park is set to truly become an all-season facility.
The City of Winnipeg announced $200,000 to help implement winter activities at the Murdock Road park on Jan. 28.
The park will create a skating pond just north of its canteen complete with lighting, benches and a pond entrance feature. As well, the park will improve its trail system to allow for cross-country skiing.
Facility manager Steve Mymko said the possibilities for the park have expanded thanks to the cash influx.
"What the community wanted was a 12-month-a-year destination," he said. "We are having success in the summer events, and now we’re going to bring winter events into the fold."
"It’ll give us opportunities to host some events we haven’t thought of before, like sno-pitch tournaments, pond hockey tournaments, and some people are interested in staging a winter carnival out here."
Other improvements for the park include enclosing the canteen area to create a warm-up building for the winter, and to aerate the pond to help control mosquito populations in the summer.
Mymko expects construction to begin as soon as there is no longer frost in the ground, likely in late May, with improvements that will be appreciated in the summer expected to be completed in July. The entire project should be finished by next winter.
Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) said making the park a winter destination has been on the agenda since its opening in 2007.
"We’re now entering the sixth year of the park, and it’s something that’s been an issue, reinvesting in the park and creating the winter facility there," he said. "This is a positive step to fulfilling that dream."
The cash came from funds that had been set aside for a new waterpark for Winnipeg, but the money became available when that project was nixed. That $7 million will be split between 14 of the 15 wards, as Elmwood-East Kildonan received special funding to rebuild East Elmwood Community Centre.
Wyatt said he hopes to see the park continue to expand, noting there’s more space in the park for two soccer fields and perhaps another baseball diamond. He also hopes to one day see larger hills for tobogganing in the park.