To mark their 75th anniversary, the Drayton Rotary Club, along with the Township of Mapleton, held a grand-opening event Saturday at the new park on Queen Street East.
“That’s a big deal for the Rotary Club. We’re small, 11 members, but we get a lot done. We’ve only been working on it for not much more than a year – we were given the go-ahead a year ago – and we’ve had a five-year plan to pay for it,” said club president Bob Bignell of the park project.
“We fundraised in the first year for the most part. so we’ll have it done.”
The township financed the $100,000 cost of the park, with the Rotary Club fundraising to reimburse the municipality.
Several donated to the park project, including Wallenstein-based Earthscape Play, which provided a $55,000 discount from the $155,000 cost of the playground structure, and Prior Construction, which donated the land for the park.
“I think you might say, ‘Gee you should be surprised’ but you shouldn’t because the community always steps up to the plate for a good project, and what a project, what a park,” said Bignell.
Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson said the location of the park is key.
“This is the first park that we have on this side of the river. So on the north side of the river, we have the arena up there, but there’s no park attached to the arena. So for all the residents that live up on this side, they’ve had to go across the bridge and go into where the agricultural center is for a park, which is quite a distance for kids,” Davidson said.
The Rotary Club has done a “fantastic job,” Davidson said.
“They came to us with an idea of putting in an outlook for $15,000. And then when they saw what we had planned or what we thought of for this park, they fell in love with it,” he said.
According to Bignell there are further plans for the park, including a pond, an outlook, a canoe launch, washrooms and shade shelters. The cost for these will run over another $100,000 and will be added over the next few years. While these additions will make the park even more welcoming, it made sense to hold the grand opening now, he said.
“The kids are playing [on the playground], so it would be kind of difficult to do an opening after they’ve been playing on it for a year.”
The park has only just tapped into the potential for the land, Davidson said.
“We’re really excited because the whole concept is just growing.”