Higgy’s Bluff project brings Bankview residents together
A chance discovery of a vacant lot in Bankview has led to plans for the creation of a temporary community park.
Local resident Chad Peters had noticed an empty residential lot at the corner of 14th Street and 25th Avenue S.W. during his walks and wondered who owned it and what it was being used for.
Peters says with the help of the Bankview Community Association, the property owner was contacted with a proposal to turn the lot into a new community space, subject to that use ending once the lot was scheduled for development.
“We were expecting to have to pitch it pretty hard – convince him why he should allow his privately owned land being developed into park space,” said Peters.
“But he liked the idea. He’s in full support, provided we always keep it very clear that it’s a temporary space and will be developed at some point.”
A volunteer team was formed to move the idea forward, and a name was chosen for the space based on local history.
At one time, Bankview was home to a local pharmacy called Higginbotham’s where residents would shop and also enjoy a fountain pop. That pharmacy provided the inspiration for the name of the temporary park project, which was dubbed Higgy’s Bluff.
Peters says he envisions a space with a few tables where people can enjoy a take-away lunch or socialize with neighbours, along with some play areas for children.
“Because we will be designing it for Bankview and area residents, we wanted to present the idea, get a bit more reach in terms of awareness, but also find out how people would want to use the space.” – Chad Peters, Bankview resident
But rather than guess what Bankview residents would like to see in the park, he says the team has sought community input.
A public open house was held at the site on June 15. Residents were able to view some poster boards with general information about the proposal and share their thoughts on features the community space should include.
“Because we will be designing it for Bankview and area residents, we wanted to present the idea, get a bit more reach in terms of awareness, but also find out how people would want to use the space,” said Peters.
People attending the event could attach sticky notes with their thoughts and ideas to the poster boards, and that input will be combined with results from an online survey.
Once that is done, Peters says the information will be summarized and plans for the site will be drawn up along with a rough budget, so fundraising can begin and grant applications can be completed.
The Higgy’s Bluff team has also been gathering names of people who are interested in volunteering to help clean the site or help with the installation of equipment.
Peters says getting residents involved is great for a couple reasons. It provides them with some sweat equity, and, “by having more volunteers involved, it just increases the amount of community buy-in and pride in the space.”
He adds that the city councillor for the area, Evan Woolley, has supported the proposal and attended the open house, and his office has offered to provide advice when it comes to things like arranging community liability insurance for the site.