McLennan Park upgrades mean splash pad, lawn closed for summer
Repair work in Kitchener park set to begin in June and will take until November
Kitchener's McLennan Park is set to get a facelift, but the repair work will mean some parts of the green space will be closed to the public this summer.
Neighbours have complained about the unsightly parts of the park — rotting wood chips and muddy grass — as well as a lack of shade.
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The park is in city councillor Paul Singh's ward and he said although it will be an inconvenience to have parts of the park closed, it's necessary work.
"To be honest, it's been frustrating to have the park look the way it does. You've got wood chips that have been decaying over the last three years, it's a muddy field," he said.
"So it's pains that we'll have to go through, but it's something that's absolutely necessary."
Great lawn to be reseeded
The park is located on a former landfill site. There is a need to restore the landfill clay cap, which covers the landfill and then grass is grown on top of the cap. This will be the focus of the region's work.
Then the great lawn will be repaired and reseeded, but while that work is underway, some parts of the park will be off limits. That includes the entrance off Blackhorne Drive as well as the volleyball courts, gazebo, a small portion of the playground and the splash pad.
With Kiwanis Park also closed this summer as a new pool it put in, Singh said the loss of the splash pad is significant.
Users want more shade
Park users have been advocating for a place to escape the sun in the park, particularly when using the playground and splash pad, said Dan Ritz, Kitchener's supervisor of design and development.
"They need more shade. That's the number one thing we've heard," Ritz said. "They want some shade, whether that's under mature trees or whether that's an additional shade structure."
Residents have also wondered why the park was never repaired after a music festival seemed to leave the grass torn up, but Ritz said the aftermath of that festival, city and regional staff did testing to make sure it was safe.
"At that time, we did have some red flags [that] came up that we needed to improve the cap," he said.
Dog park still open
Ritz said there are still areas of the park that will be open, including the Ottawa Street entrance, "so you can come into the park and still use all the parking lots."
The dog park will remain open as well as the bike park, the playground, the skatepark, the basketball court and the washrooms.
"The big message for us this summer is we're encouraging park users just to be safe. Observe the construction signs and stay out of the construction area," Ritz said. "The sooner we can get our construction done, the sooner the park can be improved and the sooner we can open it."