The initial work has begun on improvements to Ponoka’s trail system and two parks.
According to a Town of Ponoka release, contracted crews started last week on the ground work at the two parks — a revamp of the layout and structures at Central Park on 52 St. around 54 Ave. and a new construction southwest of the town hall to be called Old Hospital Rotary Park just off 51 St.
The park designs were part of the town’s recreation and culture master plan approved in 2016 and developed in consultation with the recreation, parks and culture committee as well as other community groups.
The key features of the new park designs at the Old Hospital Rotary Park and Central Park include: preserving existing trees as much as possible; new lighting and seating throughout; and both walkways and green spaces for active and passive recreation.
At Old Hospital Rotary Park there will be some additional features — an amphitheatre space, complete with a labyrinth, an edible garden landscape and a sheltered outdoor classroom area which will also serve as an extension of the nearby public library and learning centre.
Additionally at Central Park, the redo will see a new circular walkway, relocation of the hill and a small plaza in one corner that will leave space for a potential adventure playground in the future.
As for the trail improvements, an extension is being made from the green bridge off 49 St. to the existing sidewalks at 57 Ave. and 50 St., which will then connect with a new trail to Old Hospital Rotary Park and the Civic Centre.
Central Park and Lions Centennial Park will be connected to the system through the town’s existing sidewalks, which the release adds will create a continuous path through the community and the river valley.
“These new park designs and trail segments will greatly enrich the quality of life that we already enjoy here in Ponoka,” said Margo Kusiek, chair of the Ponoka Recreation, Parks and Culture committee in the release.
“Our recreation master plan and community surveys have shown repeatedly that our citizens place a high priority on the development and maintenance of our parks and trail system in Ponoka. These new trail segments will connect our parks to our existing river valley trails, and the new park designs will provide us with different types of green spaces for relaxation, physical activity, and the enjoyment of nature in a community that already has many beautiful playgrounds.”
Virtual tours of the new park designs can be viewed at www.ponoka.ca.