The City of Edmonton plans to renew several parks this construction season, as well as build or renew more than a dozen playgrounds and plant thousands of trees.
Confederation District Park, Emily Murphy Park, Gold Bar Park, Hermitage Park and Glengarry District Park are all slated for renewal work during the 2021 construction season.
Plans are also moving forward for new parks, including Warehouse Campus Park, which aims to add more green space to the downtown core.
On top of that, the city said Thursday it will build or renew 14 playgrounds and plant 6,000 trees this year.
The city said the COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the importance of park spaces within cities. With Edmonton pegged to hit two million residents in the future, the demand for parks and open spaces will only increase.
Last year, the city said some river valley parks and trail systems saw a 100 per cent increase in users when compared to 2019.
The shared pathway on River Valley Road saw 199,196 users from June to September 2020, compared to 91,948 during the same time frame in 2019.
The Rossdale Trail saw 117,740 users from June to September 2020, compared to 60,207 during the same time frame in 2019.
The Gold Bar Trail saw 196,958 users from June to September 2020, compared to 53,744 during the same time frame in 2019.
“Parks are a treasured and vital resource for Edmontonians,” the city said in a news release Thursday.
“Those enjoying our parks and open spaces this spring and summer are reminded to spread out, make use of the many parks and amenities available in your communities and throughout the city, and follow all COVID-19 related restrictions and requirements.”
Grass mowing and turf maintenance
At the start of the pandemic last year, the city cut back on its grass-cutting frequency due to the financial impacts of the pandemic. The move resulted in some Edmontonians taking the task into their own hands and mowing city-owned grassy areas.
While well-intentioned, the city encourages residents not to do this for safety reasons.
This year, the city said service levels will be improved over where they were early last summer. However, city officials noted service will still not be at the level it was pre-pandemic.
Turf maintenance throughout city parks will be done on a 10 to 14-day schedule — except for premier parks and sports fields, which will be maintained every seven to 10 days, according to the city.
Along city trails, crews will periodically work to remove gravel, sand and debris. Garbage will be collected from city trash cans twice per week.
City to naturalize 150 hectares of land near stormwater facilities
Also this coming spring and summer, the city said it will naturalize 150 hectares of land around stormwater management facilities.
The work will help protect the banks of the stormwater facilities — such as wet ponds — from erosion and help capture rain water.
The city said the work will also increase habitat and food sources for plants, birds, wildlife and pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
A complete list of the city’s scheduled maintenance work can be found on the City of Edmonton’s website.