Rotary Park redevelopment plans revealed to Orangeville Council

July 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Orangeville Council has approved a $11.29 Million redevelopment plan, in principle, for Rotary Park, with the end goal of making it a destination for the entire community.

In a unanimous vote during Council’s June 27 meeting, they directed town staff to bring back plan recommendations and a report during 2023 budget deliberations to assess the project’s final layout and budget impacts, which are subject to change. After approvals, park upgrades and additions will begin in 2023 and are expected to be fully completed by 2026.

The redevelopment plans have been developed in partnership with the Orangeville Rotary Club and they’ll continue to provide input as the project progresses.

The Club created the park in the 1980s when it was the town dump.

“I think we can all agree that there are a few tired aspects to Rotary Park after all these years, so this concept to update so many different parts of the park is most welcome,” said Don Voisey, past president and secretary of the local club.

“The Rotary Club of Orangeville is pleased to have been asked to participate in the design process as it was developed, and is excited to see the many improved facilities including some great new features.”

Currently, the project’s subtotal comes in at $8.51 million plus $221,515 in performance, labour and material bonds, and a 30 per cent contingency, due to uncertainty in the market, bringing the total cost to $11.29 million.

“On past projects, we had a 10 per cent contingency. We’ve raised this to 30 per cent because the volatility of the market, there have been so many elements of construction and development that have gone up in price that we have seen even more recently,” said Lori Balcerek of GSP Group, who was hired by Orangeville to provide plans for the redevelopment project.

Making up most of the preliminary costs is a new multiuse loop, electrical upgrades, regrading park lands, relocating amenities, tennis and pickleball courts, a new playground, and large structures.

The most expensive item on the list of upgrades for the redevelopment is the multiuse loop at $3.73 million. This is because it includes costs for ice resurfacing machinery, electrical connection requirements, mechanical work, and a building to house the equipment.

“The loop itself would be a refrigerated loop so [when frozen] it would extend into shoulder seasons,” Balcerek noted.

Looking at the project overall, the park redevelopment plans aim to enhance pedestrian connectivity through a trail system and connecting Idyllwilde with Rotary Park. Paved parking, enhanced washrooms, and baseball diamond improvements will be incorporated as well.

A summer event plaza, pavilion and consolidated play area, between Rotary Park and Idyllwilde, is also in the plans.

Engagement with the public and stakeholder groups for the park plans were conducted from August 2021 to March 2022. Those who responded indicated concerns around unsafe driving in the parking lot, not enough parking, need for additional seating, making play structures more accessible, and the disconnect between Rotary Park and Idyllwilde. These are all items the redevelopment plans hope to address.

“In adopting this plan, as proposed, we will be developing a park that meets the initial vision of this project. The end goal is to accommodate all users and not just prioritize one particular group, as many of the stakeholder groups did have a vested interest in their own use of the park,” said Balcerek. “This redevelopment creates greater opportunity for the entire community as a whole. And the park has been designed to be a destination in the Town of Orangeville.”

Orangeville’s acting CAO Ray Osmond said because Rotary Park isn’t very large, it was quite challenging to meet the needs of all the various stakeholders, but GSP Group has worked well with what’s available.

“We have a deficiency in land and they’ve tried to incorporate as much as possible into the land piece we have here,” he said. “It is not a large footprint, so we’ve managed to squeeze in as much as we can for all different groups that need their bit of change or improvement. But at the same time, try to introduce some new pieces as well.”

Osmond said the project will be great for tourism, as Rotary Park is within walking distance from downtown Orangeville and the skate loop will be a great attraction.

“It’s got a real location, location, location going for it,” he said. “It is, of course, also adjacent to Island Lake Park, and as you all know, it’s been an issue over the years where people will use Rotary Park to park and go across Island Lake, and vice versa.”

Going forward the Rotary Club of Orangeville will engage in fundraising to help offset or cover the cost of certain items in the park redevelopment plans.

The park’s plan will be budgeted for and reassessed during budget deliberations at the end of this year.

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