Community members laid the groundwork for the redevelopment of Finestone Park.
On July 8, Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos and Tyndall Park residents gathered for a sod-turning ceremony to officially open Finestone Park, located on the east side of Finestone Street between Kurt Avenue and Herman Avenue.
The plans for the redevelopment include a brand new play structure for two- to 12-year-old kids, new pathways, picnic tables, and benches. The work is scheduled to be completed by fall.
The focus of the park is the new play equipment and swings completed with accessible engineered wood fibre safety surfacing contained in a timber edging perimeter.
In 2003, the old play structure was decommissioned due to safety concerns and residents have reached out to Santos’ predecessor, Mike Pagtakhan, wanting to redevelop the empty space. The ideas for the park came through a public engagement meeting. A year and a half later, members of the community gathered to lay the groundwork.
"With green spaces like this, we always want to support our young and growing families, especially here in Tyndall Park, and any of our areas, to support them and have something to do. It’s a free amenity, and they can come all year round if they’d like. So it’s always important to ensure that we have our green spaces for our youth," Santos said. "A lot of our communities always want amenities that are within walking distance for their kids, within five minutes, something like this where is literally down the street or just behind your back lane is awesome."
The project cost $140,000, and it’s funded through the 2019 City’s Park and Recreation Enhancement Program.
Community advocate Anita Stewart said she started a petition to have the space developed four years ago when her kids didn’t have much to do during the summer. She went door to door asking people if they wanted to see a park in the big empty field in front of her house.
"We learned that there was a park here previous to us living here," said Stewart, who has been living in Tyndall Park for 15 years. "We ended up meeting a lot of families that raised their kids in this area, and it was unfortunate that (the previous park) was damaged. They were open to trying to get something here."
She added the park will bring a lot of kids out, especially during the summer. The nearest parks are Tyndall Park, Garden Grove, and Stanley Knowles, but kids need to get across busy streets to access those parks. Stewart said she was always concerned about their safety and always drove them.
"My kids are a bit older now that they can go on their own now, but I was still concerned with them being on their own. Now I can just look out my front window and see my kids playing here. It’s something new and exciting for the neighbourhood. I’m really excited to see it done."
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at email@example.com