Matthew Brewer was in a celebratory mood when he drove by Parrsboro’s new playground and saw children using the equipment.
It marks a significant milestone in a project more than three years in the making, building a new playground and park on the site of the former Parrsboro town hall site. Almost as quickly as crews from Cobequid Trails Consulting Limited removed fencing surrounding the project, people of all ages were using the new playground.
“I drove back into town last night (Thursday, June 29) and even though it was cold and wet there must’ve been 30 or 40 people there. It was awesome to see,” Brewer said. “It’s fantastic, I’m getting a lot of messages from people who are so happy that it’s open.”
The playground includes an accessible artificial turf surface with three pieces of playground equipment. There’s a large climbing structure and swings on a wood fibre surface and a play hill with slides and other features. The overall budget for the project was approximately $450,000 with funding from all three levels of government and a successful fundraising drive by the Parrsboro Community Playground Society.
Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott said the community has something to be proud of.“That was a real community effort and we can’t thank enough the people who were involved. It was a dream for them and now it’s a reality,” the mayor said. “For Matt Brewer and his committee and everyone who contributed their time and talents, this has become a true community project. From a municipal perspective, we really appreciate everything they’ve done to enhance life in the Parrsboro area.”
The mayor said the playground and the park, once it’s completed, will continue the history of the property that was the former town hall. He sees a bright future for the property.
“It will be used by folks for many years to come and it’s going to be a great welcome to the community because of its location,” the mayor added.
Brewer said the response validates what the playground committee was striving for in building an inclusive and accessible park that fills a void in the community. While the park won’t officially open until later and Brewer said there are still a few minor touch-ups to be done he’s very happy with how things have gone to date.
“This speaks volumes about our community and how it has supported this project from the very beginning when we as a playground committee said we need a new playground and this is where we want to build it. We’ve had full community support,” said Brewer, adding the Municipality of Cumberland has been a tremendous partner from the start.
“Once we got going, without exception we had amazing support from all three levels of government and the amount of support out of pocket from local people and the donation of services businesses was incredible. People went out of their way to ask how they could help.”
He said it’s also a credit to Cobequid Trails.
“Those guys live here and you could see it in their work. They were really invested in what they were doing,” Brewer added. “You could tell they cared a lot about this project and wanted to get it right.”
Design planning for the park portion of the property is well underway. A draft conceptual design has been prepared for discussion purposes but is not finalized. The municipality will be meeting with First Nations representatives in the coming months to obtain input and advice on how to best represent Mi’kmaq culture and heritage in the area. Consultations with community groups are also ongoing.
Installation of all the components of the park will likely take several years as fundraising and detailed design for different aspects of the park come together.