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Yarrow park poised for renovations this summer

Carol Bell (left) and Jill Giesbrecht, with children Julin and Madeline, are looking forward to a $300,000 upgrade to Yarrow Central Park this summer.  - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Carol Bell (left) and Jill Giesbrecht, with children Julin and Madeline, are looking forward to a $300,000 upgrade to Yarrow Central Park this summer.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

It's a well-used green space on the main street — the face Yarrow shows the world as it zooms by.

But Yarrow Central Park is about to undergo a much-needed upgrade worth almost $300,000.

Some of the creative ideas are being developed in close consultation with local residents and youth, who are members of a working group liaising with city staff on the park plans.

City staff were urged to dream big while planning the project that gets underway this summer.

"I think it's going to give Yarrow a lot of things, including a brand-new meeting place, and if it goes really well, it will be good for the face we put on for those passing through," said resident Jill Giesbrecht.

She is one of the local parents and residents offering the city some feedback on the playground plan, and already loves the "natural playscape" approach they're working with.

"I think it's a great fit for who we are out in Yarrow, and it's a great way to design a playground," she said.

The nature-themed playground for kids will put the focus on "natural play" as much as possible. It will incorporate features like a rock-climbing wall, a trike path and possibly a tunnel through which people will enter the site.

Another new attraction will be the completely rebuilt skateboard park, at an estimated cost of $150,000.

The proposed changes will make a big difference, including a new park entrance that will one day be a source of pride.

"We are thrilled about this," said Carol Bell, member of the Yarrow Volunteer Society. "It came as a bit of a surprise that the city was going to renovate the park, but they are putting a substantial amount of money toward this and we appreciate it."

Bell praised the city for actively seeking out resident input on the ambitious $297,000 park project, which will also include new walking trails around the tree-filled area on Yarrow Central Road.

Now there's only "a bare patch of grass" with some swings at the site, along with the old skate bowl and some tired tennis courts.

"It's really going to update our park," she said. "I think it's going to look lovely."

Some of the existing elements were actually built years ago by dedicated Yarrow residents themselves, like the original fountain structure, created as a centennial feature in the park to honour the community's founding Mennonite pioneers.

Coun. Diane Janzen acknowledged the park needs work to bring it up to standards.

"This has been in the works for a while now. Yarrow Central Park has always been an important recreational and family facility in Yarrow.

"This will bring it up to code and will certainly expand the recreational opportunities we can offer."

A Request for Expressions of Interest on the skate park aspect of the plan went out recently and is slated to close March 23. City officials expect to issue a Request for Proposals on April 1, and the project will be ready for presentation after Yarrow Days in June.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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