Site preparation begins for Louis Street Urban Park in downtown Peterborough

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It's a project that's been several years in the making and finally it's about to get off the ground. Site preparation for construction of the Louis Street Urban Park will start next week. As Mark Giunta reports, barring any setbacks, the project is slated for completion by the end of next year – Nov 20, 2020

Site preparation for the construction of the Louis Street Urban Park project in downtown Peterborough is scheduled to begin next week.

The urban park project was launched in 2016 with plans to redevelop the longtime parking lot at Louis and Charlotte streets. The City of Peterborough on Wednesday awarded a contract to Peak Engineering and Construction Ltd. of Brighton for $3.25 million (plus tax) for construction of Phase 1.

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The urban park will include a large surface for multi-purpose uses for community activities, including a refrigerated outdoor rink in the winter. There will also be a public art display, large tree plantings and seating areas and designated space for a farmers’ market.

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The city says the contractor next week will begin moving on site to start site preparation work. Construction had been postponed in 2019 for further soil testing requirements required by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. The coronavirus pandemic also impacted startup work on the project.

“This is an important milestone in this much-anticipated project that will encourage community activity and new private-sector investment in our central area,” said Town Ward Coun. Kemi Akapo. “I’m thrilled to see the start of construction and looking forward to the revitalization the urban park will bring to that area.”

The budget for the project is $6.3 million with plans to split up construction into multiple phases. The goal is to have the park completed near the end of 2021.

The city says the park and renewal along Charlotte Street are key strategies in its Central Area Master Plan.

“I’m excited to see construction start on this new community space,” said Town Ward Coun. Dean Pappas. “As we look forward to post-COVID-19, this investment will serve as a catalyst for renewal and growth.

“The Hunter Street Café District shows what can happen when the city leads by creating vibrant community spaces.”

The contract for the next phase is planned to be awarded in early 2021.

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In July, city council supported the selection of Ashburnham Realty as the proponent through a competitive process to acquire the rights for the development of a mixed commercial-residential building at the south end of the urban park. The new private development would be designed to integrate into the urban park. It will include facilities in support of the park such as a change room and public washrooms.

The city is also welcoming private business and community organizations to consider corporate sponsorship opportunities in the public space.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of events we can create with this skating rink, whether it’s an old time Christmas theme like the Distillery District in Toronto or another exciting events in the downtown,” said Peterborough DBIA executive director Terry Guiel.