With the final long weekend of the summer over, Chestermere’s Cove Park rehabilitation project is nearing completion.
“The project’s gone really smoothly,” said Chestermere Parks and Recreation Manager Kathy Russell, “It’s been a really fun project.”
She said that they laid the sod the last week of July.
“Once you get to the sod level you know, you’re 97 per cent complete,” said Russell.
The project, which is both on time and on budget, has a few final amenities to install and some final landscaping before work will be complete.
“We’ll have to get in there and do some final landscaping with our parks staff and then we still have to put in some things like shade sails, benches picnic tables,” said Russell.
She expects that work to be completed the first week of August.
“Once those final amenities get put in its probably going to take 4-5 weeks for the sod to get established,” she said.
While the sod is getting established, Russell said that it is important that the public stay off of it to prevent it being damaged.
The construction fences will stay up during this time and city parks staff will be watering the sod and landscaping daily.
“We’re watering it out of the lake with pumps,” said Russell.
“What the public would see right now is just periodic watering,” she said.
In addition to the watering, staff will evaluate the condition of the park weekly to determine when it can be opened, something they plan to do as soon as possible.
“We look forward to opening up the park for the public,” said Russell, “I think people will enjoy it a lot.”
As long as the weather holds, she thinks that the fall will be a great time for people to come and experience the park and the new natural play areas.
“The word of mouth I’m hearing is people are pretty excited and can’t wait to try it, to see what the playground is like,” said Russell.
With the excitement around the new playground, Russell wants to remind people to be respectful of the neighbourhoods around the park when coming out to enjoy it.
“It’s not a big park and there is no designated parking,” said Russell, “so we want to encourage everyone to be respectful of neighbourhoods close by and walk and bike.”
In the public engagement that took place before the start of the rehabilitation project, Russell said that about 65 per cent of people walked or biked to Cove Park.
“And so, we’re really encouraging people to continue that practice,” she said.
To encourage both walking or biking to the park and respectful parking practices, Russel said that some adjustments are being made to the parking in The Cove.
On Cove road at the mailboxes near the entrance to the park, the city is instituting a 15 minute drop off and pick up zone.
While their first choice is for people to walk and bike to the park, Russell suggested that those who do choose to drive could park, “along the fence line that borders the TransCanada Highway in the Cove or they could be parking somewhere over on the west side of the lake, in Lakepointe.
“At the top of Lakepoint Drive, at the very top of the storm pond where you go into the off-leash area, there’s some parking there,” said Russell.
“It’s not very far… probably a seven-minute walk,” she said.