No one wants to play in a sloppy-grassy puddle every day, especially in the winter.
That’s what the students of École Van Walleghem School have had to play with since their school’s parking lot was expanded around 2005 and the land around the school started to settle poorly.
To fix the problem and add some special features, Linden Woods father Mark d’Almeida represented the school’s parent council at the April 16 City Centre community council meeting.
The parent council requested $21,459 and received it from Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights- Fort Garry Ward), who granted the full amount.
"What we’re looking to do is revitalize the playground," said d’Almeida.
Currently sporting a large puddle in the grass, the playground includes a large play structure surrounded by gravel, soccer fields, a baseball field, and backs onto publicly-used Van Walleghem Park.
d’Almeida said to spruce up the play area they want to add natural play elements, like tree stumps, continue the park’s path, replace the gravel surrounding the play structure with a softer mulch, add an outdoor classroom, a shade canopy, and improve the drainage system.
"By doing these improvements it increases the accessibility and the usability of the entire park for the school and the public," said d’Almeida. "Everyone in the community is benefitting."
When the parking lot was expanded, the path that runs through Van Walleghem Park was cut off at the school, the improvements will continue the path.
"The school will be able to use it as a running path, but the community then gets to use it after hours or anytime they want to, as it’s a public park," said d’Almeida.
The city can only contribute half of a project’s cost through the Community Incentive Grant program. To gather the other half of the money, the parent council has been fundraising for 10 years.
"The way that we’ve been raising funds is through a running event called the Linden Woods Fall Classic," said d’Almeida. "So we’re in our 10th year, we’ve raised over $110,000 in the last nine events and we’ve spent 50% of that on earlier parent council initiatives, but the remainder of that is going to this project."