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Thunder Bay's Paterson Park redesign options unveiled

Three different options for revitalizing Paterson Park, the only green space in Thunder Bay's downtown south core, will be unveiled Thursday night at a public meeting.

Revitalization plans include skating rink and a children's play area including a water feature

Landscape architect Colin Berman (left), and Werner Schwar, Thunder Bay's supervisor of parks and open spaces planning, hold one of the design drawings for the city's Paterson Park. (Cathy Alex/CBC)
The City hopes to breath new life into Patterson Park. A little used green space on Thunder Bay's south side could look a little different 7:10

Three different options for revitalizing Paterson Park, the only green space in Thunder Bay's downtown south core, will be unveiled Thursday night at a public meeting.

"The whole idea of the redesign is to make it attractive, and make it a place for people", says Werner Schwar, the supervisor of parks and open space planning for the city.

For advice on how to bring people back to the park, landscape architect and project manager, Colin Berman, of Brook McIlroy, said they turned to a group called 8-80 Cities, based in Toronto.

It's an organization which works with community and municipal groups to come up with new ideas on how to redesign public spaces that aren't working or need to be improved.
Three options to revitalize Paterson Park, in Thunder Bay's downtown south core, will be unveiled at a public meeting Thursday night. (Cathy Alex/CBC)

The group recommended making it more accessible and creating features, which would be available all year-long, to attract children and families to the park.

"There's very few to no children using the park today, and that tells us that it's really not working for the local community," said Berman.

Acting on the 8-80 Cities report, Berman created three design plans.

Adventure playground for children

He said one is very linear, one is more organic, and the third is a combination of the two, but all incorporate the same elements, including a gathering place, a shaded area, and references to Aboriginal culture.

"They all have an adventure or nature playground for children, and some kind of water play element that also serves as a reference to the decorative fountain that's there today. All the concepts also have a skating rink, whether that's natural ice or chilled skating rink, but a reason for people to come here in the winter," said Berman.

Public washrooms would also be added to the park.

Thursday's open house runs from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at First Wesley United Church, with presentations from both Schwar and Berman.

The information will then be posted on the city of Thunder Bay website, and Schwar anticipated people will have about a month to leave their comments.

He said they will take those comments and create new drawings to be approved by city council, with the hope of starting the project in the summer of 2017.

Here are the three redesign options for Paterson Park. 

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