Two St. Albert neighbourhoods will soon have access to new playgrounds, with construction expected to be completed before winter.
For Jensen Lakes, city planners have recently finished designing a beach-themed playground that will be the centrepiece of Jennifer Park.
The park, which takes up just less than a quarter of a hectare of land, was identified and planned for as part of the city's Jensen Lakes Parks Master Plan in 2021. A recently released What We Heard report published by the city says the park “connects residents to the Jensen Lakes community from Villeneuve Road.”
The new Jennifer Park playground will feature four swings, spinning and rocking features, and a large connected play structure, said Manda Wilde, the city's interim director of recreation facility development and partnerships.
“It's a very cute beach-themed playground,” Wilde said, adding that construction on the park started on Aug. 3.
“For Jennifer Park we're working with the (neighbourhood) developer and they're doing their normal stuff (such as) putting in the trails, they'll put in the turf and some of the basic landscaping, and then the city's contribution for that one is about $330,000,” she said.
“That's what we would normally spend on a neighbourhood park.”
The What We Heard shared the results of a community survey the city administered earlier this year seeking public feedback on potential playground designs and said some residents asked for an off-leash dog space and a splash park as part of the park's design. However, because of size constraints, both features weren't plausible.
The other St. Albert neighbourhood to soon have a new playground is Riverside.
The neighbourhood's nearly half-acre Raspberry Park will soon feature a rather appropriate red-and-green playground Wilde said, noting neighbourhood developer Genstar is covering the majority of the project's cost.
“This one's got a little small-tot play area because we've heard there's a lot of very young families or soon-to-be young families in this area of the city,” Wilde said. “Then what we heard from public engagement, people like some of the bigger structures, so we took one of the smaller structures in the original design and converted it into a larger structure.”
“It's got a couple of slides, It's got a really cool rope climber that goes up the centre of the larger play structure so kids can either walk up or climb up, (and it) has step-up ramps on all of the play structures, which helps those with mobility challenges just access the play structures a little bit easier.”
The new Raspberry Park playground will also have swings, Wilde said, “because people really do love the swings and we don't build playgrounds without them.”
Because Genstar is covering the cost of the playground structures, the city will need to spend just $170,000 on the project to install signage, garbage cans, seating, and other small features, Wilde said.
Wilde said city planners are still finalizing the park's design, but construction on Raspberry Park is expected to begin in a few weeks.
Both playgrounds are expected to be constructed and open to the public this fall.