WWWCCCL Board Update—October 14, 2020
The Westridge-Wolf Willow Park Rejuvenation Committee has been working steadily over the past several months to determine the needs and possibilities for revitalizing our two community parks. Initially, the idea to install shade elements or a pavilion was presented to the WWWCCCL AGM in January by a community member, which sparked an interest by those present to explore the idea further. A committee was recruited, via social media posts about the opportunity, and began discussing the concept and process via email. In July the committee engaged our community neighbors in an online survey to assess the desires and needs for enhancing our parks. The survey was promoted in the printed Spring/Summer Howler Newsletter, on social media, and through digital new sources (Pipeline, Alberta Jewish News).
A brief summary of the survey responses is below:
- 80 responses, 40% use the parks 2+ a week, 78% after 3pm
- Top priorities indicated
- Westridge: shade for existing (63%), play structures (39%), pavilion (37%)
- Wolf Willow: shade (53%), develop area (36%), play structures (32%)
WHAT IS THE BASIC VISION?
Based on the results, the Park Committee has created a basic vision for each site and gathered several quotes from City of Edmonton approved vendors. The research the committee members have already done has been extensive and informative. Note, the committee is supported by our City of Edmonton (CoE) appointed Neighborhood Resource Coordinator, who is providing incredibly detailed information and guidance. The basic vision is as follows:
- Westridge: shade for existing tables/benches, new tables/shade, new structures and/or toys or interactive panels with a focus on older children and inclusivity
- Wolf Willow: concrete pad with new shade/tables or pavilion, new structures and/or toys or interactive panels with a focus on older children and inclusivity
- Tree program: relocation of trees from the city and donate a tree program
- Phase 2 (if there is public interest): Bike pump tracks at both sites, small ball court at Wolf Willow
- No BBQs or water features
The forecasted budget for phase one is $325,000+, with each park costing around $150,000. A rough breakdown is below:
- Equipment estimate with moving swings: $80-90,000
- Shelter estimate installed: $40-50,000
- New tables estimate: $6,000 each table
- WW Concrete pad estimate: $10,000
- Plus 10% contingency
- $3,000 grant writer
The forecasted budget for phase two, depending on another needs assessment survey and feedback, could be $50,000+ per site. The committee has gotten several quotes ranging from $30,000 to more than $150,000, so this concept needs due diligence and further exploration.
WHAT IS THE COMMITTEE DOING NOW?
Currently, the committee is in the process of completing the first stage of the CoE Parks Development process, which includes a detailed application. To move from the concept stage, a $5000 non-refundable deposit is required. Thus, the committee has initiated in two fundraisers to raise these funds: a virtual silent auction and Valentine’s day basket raffle. The Board has approved lending the committee funds up to $5,000 should it be needed to keep the project momentum going.
Looking forward, the committee has been approved by the board to hire a grant writer who will offer their expertise to maximize the grants opportunities for this project. Grant writing can be tricky and technical, so we want to utilize a professional who knows the ins and outs of the process: grant stacking, what order to apply for grants in, buzz wording for higher scores, and what businesses to approach. One grant the committee will apply for soon is the New Parks and Development Plan small grant, which will give us funds to create the master plan, public engagement events, develop professional concept drawings, hire grant writer, etc.
Once we have moved into stage two (concept) with the city we will continue to engage the community in information sessions, conduct needs assessment surveys, develop a formal proposal and concept package for prospective sponsors, develop a fundraising plan, and work alongside the CoE project manager to bring our vision to reality.