Waterloo buys three properties for $1.5M to expand parkette near uptown
This is the time to invest in parks and green spaces, Coun. Melissa Durrell says
Alexandra Park currently has two swings, a small play structure with five slides and a stationary car where children can pretend to drive on the open road.
But in the future, it could have a bike trail, maybe a shelter for a farmers' market, chess tables and something for everyone.
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That's the dream for uptown Waterloo Coun. Melissa Durrell, who is behind a push for the city to purchase three buildings on William Street W. with a plan to demolish them and expand the park.
Councillors agreed this week to spend $1,494,000 to buy 46, 48 and 50 William St. W.
"If we don't invest in the green spaces now, they're going to cost a heck of a lot more more in five, 10, 15, 20 years," Durrell said, standing in the parkette, which she says is really only utilized by parents with small children, now.
Buying all three properties 'desirable'
The purchase is being made using the city's parkland dedication reserve fund.
The property includes the former Beam's Bedding shop, which has a warehouse on the property. It's an odd flag-shaped lot, city staff said in a report to the finance and strategic planning committee, that also shares a driveway with 46 William St., so it is "desirable" to buy both parcels "to create a safer park with substantial frontage on William Street."
The warehouse is "in need of demolition" the staff report said while 46 William St. W. "is prone to flooding."
Once the sale is complete, staff will work towards demolishing the buildings as soon as possible, though that could be delayed because there are tenants in one of the buildings.
Work with residents on park plan
What goes into the park will be decided at a later date, Durrell said.
Durrell said the warehouse has a unique roof to it, and it would be nice to use it for a shelter for events like farmers' markets, but that will depend on if that's a safe and viable option.
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"Uptown west has a lot of amenities close. Within two blocks they've got the uptown square, Waterloo Park is on the other side, so what's missing that can make this neighbourhood have, make this a gathering spot," she said.
"I think that it's up to [the residents] and we'll work with them to make sure that we plan a great, public space."