The effort to build a new park on the site of the former town hall property in Parrsboro is moving toward a preliminary design.
A public meeting was held at the Parrsboro Fire Department on Thursday, March 31, 2023, to gather input on a pair of preliminary design drawings for the park that will be built in phases and likely take several years to complete.
“The municipality has hired a landscape architecture firm to produce a conceptual plan for the park area and what they’ve produced are two different options of a very preliminary design option,” project manager Jim Campbell said. “That’s really what they are, preliminary design options.”
Campbell said the purpose of the open house was an opportunity for area residents to give their thoughts on what they want the park to include and what it should look like.
“We’re encouraging people to give us as much feedback as possible,” he said. “We’ll take that information and pass it on to the designers.”
The information will go to Fredericton-based Glenn Group, who will come back with a possible design for the park. Campbell expects to see another draft sometime later in April. Once a final draft is presented it will be up to the municipality on how to proceed.
The vision for the park includes public washrooms, trails, landscaping and some sort of open-air pavilion. The existing bandstand, information kiosk and tennis courts are to be incorporated into the design.
Campbell said it’s going to take several years to complete the project, depending on capital budgets and funding opportunities.
Placing a new park on the former town hall property has been something a group of Parrsboro residents has been working toward since the town amalgamated with the Municipality of Cumberland several years ago and the former town hall was ruled unsafe for several reasons.
Not long after amalgamation, Matt Brewer presented a plan to municipal council and received a warm response. The group then incorporated as the Parrsboro Community Playground Society and started planning and fundraising.
Through ACOA’s Canada Community Revitalization Fund, designed to help communities emerge from the pandemic, the society and the municipality received $250,000 toward the project which had an estimated cost of $540,000.
In addition to this funding, the municipality agreed to contribute $100,000 over two years and the society acquired $97,000 in provincial grants and agreed to contribute $55,000 raised from private donors. There are also pledges for in-kind work.
Most of the budget was designated for the playground with natural and traditional components and a large open space. Council approved the project in the fall of 2021 and Cobequid Trails Consulting was awarded the contract to design and build the playground. It was hoped the playground could be completed by last fall, but equipment could not be delivered in time.
A request for proposals for design work was issued last June, but no compliant responses were received. A request for reallocation was sent to ACOA and a second RFP was issued with the Glenn Group being awarded the contract.