Oxford Heights Community Centre’s new playground will come out of the dark and into the light.
The Transcona Playground Renewal Association Inc., a non-profit group devoted to improving the neighbourhood’s play areas, and the club plan to build a new structure on the northwest section of the centre’s grounds.
The plans were boosted after efforts received a $63,000 grant from the federal government through its Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund. The grant was announced at the club on Jan. 3.
Club president Lora Deighton said the new structure will be more easily seen from the club’s soccer pitch and from Dowling Avenue East.
"The community club playground that we have right now is fairly old and it’s on the side of the building where there’s really no access for parents to watch over their kids," Deighton said.
"We’re moving it to a more visible place and a more active place."
Deighton expects construction of the new structure will begin this spring and hopes it will be ready in time for the coming soccer season so children can use the playground while their siblings are on the pitch.
Plans call for the new structure to feature safer footing, a safer base and a new limestone path.
Other amenities are still being determined.
"We’re looking at a swing set and a new slide," Deighton said. "We’re planning on some benches so parents can sit and watch their kids."
The new playground is the second part of a three-phase plan to improve the club after field-drainage issues were addressed in 2012. Deighton added the club eventually hopes to add a basketball court near the new playground in order to attract a variety of age groups to the centre.
TPRA president Peter Martin said the group has been able to accomplish improvements to nearly 20 playgrounds since 2006, but noted this project is different than the others.
"This is our first one in a multiuse area, where there’s soccer, there’s other things going on, so this is going to fit very nicely in that," he said.
MP Lawrence Toet (Con-Elmwood-Transcona) announced the funding on behalf of the Minister of State for Western Economic Development Lynne Yelich. He said bringing children together helps build stronger communities.
"The biggest thing, to me, is for the kids to be there," he said. "What it does is bring families and neighbourhoods together. It’s the core of what we’re about.
"If you have communities that work together, they play together, they automatically have more co-operation."