Lions park ready to roll after Rock’n August

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St. Albert’s Lions Park will receive a facelift shortly after Rock’n August concludes on Aug. 7.

According to Chris Jardine, general manager of community and protective services, the current project tender will close on Aug. 3, with construction starting a couple of weeks after that point. He added that the aim was always to wait until after Rock’n August to start the $400,000 project.

“We don’t want to start construction and leave it all torn up for Rock’n August,” he said. “The intent is to have all the work done before it freezes, so we’re ready to go in the spring.”

The project will see the washrooms at the site winterized for year-round use, new landscaping upgrades and playground equipment for the children’s area. The proposal is scheduled for completion in the spring.

Bryan Evans, a member of the Host Lions Club and project manager for the group, said the club is waiting for the tender to wrap up before starting its own work on the children’s playground. The Lions are working to raise money for the new equipment, but anticipate it will cost at least $100,000 to purchase and install the new playground, which would take place next year, he said.

“The evolution of play equipment has been more dramatic over the years,” he said, adding that the equipment would be more modern and allow for children with disabilities to use the playground.

Part of the tender asks bidders to assist with the Lions’ portion of the project for the installation of the playground equipment. Jardine said it was normal for non-profit groups to piggyback some of the work on to the city’s tender to cut down on the costs. However, he added the Lions would be the ones providing the equipment to install.

The park renovations were prompted by the city’s 150th anniversary in 2011 and the Lions’ own 60th anniversary in St. Albert, according to Evans. It will also be one of several parks playing host to the city’s attempt at the largest picnic in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Only one other public park in the city has winterized bathrooms according to Jardine. The Kingswood clubhouse, which the Nordic Ski Club uses, was the first to have the facilities. He added that the idea of making the Lions Park bathrooms accessible year-round was brought up during previous discussions on the project.

While the plans for Lions Park were developed before Jardine’s time with the city, he said he doesn’t believe there are other plans to winterize other outdoor bathrooms.

“Having our infrastructure set up to survive the winter is very important,” he said. “Otherwise we have to shut them down in the winter. In this case, obviously it was something that needed to be done.”

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