Sunday, March 3, 2013

Location for Riehl Skatepark Decided

On Thursday, February 21, five Staff and I lead 23 members of the community through a creative problem solving process (the Simplexity Thinking System) to determine the preferred location for the Riehl Skatepark.

The working group included Bonita and Ted Riehl; Mariah Bunz; youth and adult skate boarders; a local Aviva Insurance Broker; and representatives from the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council; Niagara Regional Police; Pelham Youth Soccer Club; Pelham Minor Baseball; Pelham Slopitch; Bandshell Committee; Pelham Tennis Association; and local Service Clubs.

After discussing facts about the skatepark, the working group using maps and post-it notes to suggest 15 potential locations:
1. Harold Black Park - Soccer Field;
2. Arena Park - Multi Purpose Court;
3. Harold Black Park - near Storm Water Detention Pond;
4. Arena Park - south of driveway, east of arena;
5. Centennial Park - ball diamond #3;
6. Marlene Stewart Streit Park - asphalt pad behind pool building;
7. Town owned lands in East Fonthill
8. Peace Park - Adjacent to Professional Arts Building;
9. Glynn A School - near soccer field/Steve Bauer Trail;
10. Marlene Stewart Streit Park - near entrance to John Nemy Trail;
11. Woodstream Park - wooded area;
12. Centennial Park - east of furthest parking lot;
13. Gord Klager Fonthill Lions Park - tennis courts;
14. Arena Park - north of paddle tennis facility;
15. Centennial Park - front passive area at Church Street

With these potential locations in mind, each of three small-groups brainstormed and then short-listed the best criteria to evaluate the locations. The group results were combined, and further “converged” by everyone into seven criteria:
1. Safe access – getting to and from the park, EMS & Police Access, Near Majority of Town Population;
2. Available public washrooms and other infrastructure;
3. Isaac would have approved and it will increase civic pride;
4. Minimal impact on others (park users and neighbours);
5. Highly visible (for police,"eyes on park") and able to be lighted;
6. Enough physical space -minimum 110' x 110' and potential for expansion;
7. Favourable terrain/topography;

Each small group used the seven criteria to evaluate the 15 locations.

The result? Consensus on one location – the soccer field at Harold Black Park.

What will happen to those that currently use this improperly-sized soccer field? While the lights will stay for the Skatepark, Staff and Pelham Soccer have recommended that the Town advance the planned 2014 construction of a new soccer field and parking lot as envisioned in the Centennial Park Master Plan. (This can be paid for by delaying the construction of a “Central Park Building” and lighting Ball Diamond #2.)

Thanks to all who participated in and facilitated the special workshop; you proved the Ghanaian proverb true: “One head does not contain all the wisdom.”

UPDATE: March 4, 2013:
The Committee of the Whole approved the recommendation to construct the Riehl Skatepark at Harold Black Park. This recommendation will go to Council on March 18 for ratification.