After being closed to the public for almost one year, the Vancouver Park Board is aiming to reopen the western portion of Oppenheimer Park in June.
The board said that a phased approach to bringing the greenspace back will allow for restoration work to continue while “ensuring community members have opportunities to influence the outcomes.”
Parks and Carnegie Community Centre staff have been engaged in community conversations ahead of Oppenheimer’s reopening — including discussing potential programs and services and how to revive sacred items and cultural spaces.
The Downtown Eastside park has been fenced off since May 2020, when the province took control and moved campers to housing as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oppenheimer Park was set to undergo a “phased reopening” last fall after an extensive and costly cleanup to erase any trace of its 18-month stint as a homeless camp.
But last November, the park board said those plans were delayed by a break-in and vandalism at the park’s fieldhouse.
Efforts are now focused on remediating grassy areas, urban forestry work, ongoing playground and fieldhouse repairs and restoring historical and cultural elements within the park.
By the end of September, the City of Vancouver estimated it had spent $450,000 on restoration at Oppenheimer Park.
At the same time, the Vancouver Park Board predicted it would cost $420,000 to repair and restore the fieldhouse.