St. Patrick's Island will soon be home to some new recreational areas including a beach, according to the landscaping plans unveiled Monday by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

The plan to build a 12.5-hectare park on the island near the Calgary Zoo is part of the city's bigger plan to revitalize the East Village. The island had become known as a site of drug-related and transient behaviour.

"We are ready to breathe new life into this space," said Michael Brown, CMLC president.

The developers will re-install an old channel next to the island in order to make way for a beach in the summer and an area for skating in the winter.

There will also be running paths, play areas for children, a small amphitheatre and a grassy knoll standing nine metres that is sloped for tobogganing.

The island will close to public access on March 18 so the work can get underway. It is expected to take up to two years to complete the $20-million overhaul.

New bridge

The work on the island is being co-ordinated with the construction of the new St. Patrick's Island Bridge, which will link the area to the nearby northeast community of Bridgeland.

The bridge is on schedule to be finished by the end of 2013 at a cost of $25 million.