Dale Hodges Park opens at former northwest Calgary gravel pit
A new park opened in northwest Calgary on Wednesday named in honour of the city's longest serving member of council, Dale Hodges.
Dale Hodges Park covers the 16-hectare site of the former Klippert Concrete gravel pit about two kilometres west of Market Mall along the Bow River.
Hodges was first elected in 1983 as the alderman for Ward 1, a position he held for 10 straight terms before retiring from council in 2013.
He is Calgary's longest service member of council and took an active role in protecting and creating Calgary's green spaces while in office, the city said in a release.
Hodges says the project has been decades in the making and he likes what he sees.
"It's great. They put some real work into it," he said. "They've had some excellent design consultants work on it and it's fantanstic."
The land for the park was acquired from Klippert Concrete in 2010 to restore the ecological integrity of the area.
The park has stormwater wetlands, a wildlife habitat, cycling and walking trails, as well as lookout points across the river valley.
Park designers say the space's natural and man-made features will treat stormwater from eight nearby communities before it re-enters the Bow River and reduce the sediment load by 50 per cent.
Stormwater treatment facility
The city says the park is one of the first of its kind in North America and is the result of a collaboration between artists, engineers, landscape architects, biologists and environmental management consultants.
"Dale Hodges Park is a one-of-a-kind, beautiful stormwater treatment facility designed in collaboration with local artists, Sans façon. The design highlights the natural and man-made processes involved in stormwater management," said Katie Black, the city's general manager of community services.
"This specific project brings citizens along on a journey: the stormwater originates from rain or melting snow from eight north-west Calgary neighbourhoods, and travels to Dale Hodges Park where it is filtered and treated, prior to entering the Bow River."
The budget for the park was $26.8 million, which included costs for the design and construction of the stormwater treatment system and the park, reclamation of the land and the public art incorporated into the design.
With files from Dave Gilson