Area residents looking forward to new green space
Plans for a new green space in East Victoria Park are well underway.
A city-owned parking lot is the site for the proposed new park space along Macleod Trail between 11th and 12th Avenues S.E.
A stakeholders meeting took place on Feb. 27 to bring together a conceptual plan and discuss their roles in the development process.
Joel Lipkind said the new green space would mean good things for him as a landowner.
"The park will beautify the area which is good for my tenants and good for land value," said Lipkind, who owns heritage buildings across the street that are rented for commercial space.
Dan Van Leeuwen said that "the park will provide a useful space for residents to de-stress, have outdoor meetings or to exercise."
Dollars and vision
Project manager Michelle Reid, conservation landscape architect with the City of Calgary Parks department, acknowledged the area has a deficiency in green space..
"The park would provide a small gateway into the downtown core," she said.
The city's budget for the proposed park is $750,000. That amount was matched by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, whose mandate is to contribute to park spaces south of the 9th Avenue train tracks as part of the East Village revitalization plan.
The park will also accommodate the ever-growing condo development in East Victoria Park.
The Enoch Sales house, a privately-owned building, is being considered to be included within the design of the new park if funding is established.
Built in 1905, the heritage building is one of the few remaining homes from when Victoria Park was a thriving residential area.
More green space could mean less crime
East Victoria Park has had a reputation of crime and drug use, ranking the fourth for communities with largest number of person crimes, such as assaults and robberies, in a 2006 City of Calgary Community Well-Being survey. The city hopes that the new park will allow the area to be more accessible to everyone.
"That assumption is being challenged," said Reid. "Crime is always a factor downtown, however if you design a beautiful space and give it back to the community, those undesirable activities will become less and less because of the amount of human traffic."
Lipkind said: "The area has changed in the last 20 years with all the new development. There has been a huge rejuvenation and the crime has decreased. I believe the more density in the area the better."
The park will include benches, green spaces and an archway entrance.
Concept development for the park takes place this month, with the construction to start in July 2013.
- By CONOR MAHONEY