City's $7.4-million Parks Plan Gets A 'Thumbs Up' From Community

Nothing but positive feedback for Windsor's plan to revamp playgrounds across the city.

A public meeting was held last night to unveil the $7.4-million plan to replace 28 playgrounds over the next two years.

Landscape Architect Heidi Baillargeon is heading up the project and says this is a massive undertaking for the city.

"It's the biggest redevelopment that we've ever done in terms of this many playgrounds. Usually, on average, we do five to six a year. So this is absolutely huge. There were a number of playgrounds that were taken out of service because they were in failing conditions and some parks have been without equipment for three years."

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(Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Jillian LeBlanc-Brown lives in Forest Glade and says her children have been without a playground for quite some time.

"The park near our house was taken out a couple of years ago. It was in really bad repair and now we're just left with this sandy pit. So we'd love to see a new park because right now we have to walk 20 to 25 minutes to get to the nearest park and it would be great because the other park was right down the street from our house."

Gloria Malott lives near Polonia Park and says the kids there need a place to go.

"They've had no equipment for a few years now. So we're kind of anxious to get something in because there's a lot of kids in the neighbourhood that just don't have anywhere to go right now. So you do get to meet the neighbours and different kinds of people and learn a lot from each other. It's like a community place, not just a playground."

Baillargeon says the goal is to create community meeting spots.

"A lot of them have picnicking areas, parking lots, sometimes there's a splash pad there, there could be washroom facilities. So it kind of creates a destination. Families can come, they can get outside, enjoy the outdoors, they can spend a whole day there, go there for a picnic. So we're trying to create hubs almost that there's more than one thing to do and it caters to a lot of people."

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The City of Windsor is looking for input on what you'd like to see included at the parks (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Baillargeon adds, they've already replaced more than 20 playgrounds and they're all heavily used.

"From 2008 until now, of the larger parks that are themed or have accessible equipment, there's over 20. They're very well used. We have people come from out of town, from across the city that actually go and use the other parks because they're themed. So the kids are like, "I want to go to the dinosaur park" or "I want to go to the spaceship park"."

Resident Darlene Westfall lives in Ward 5 and says she's happy to see the city investing in parks.

"If I have to pay my taxes I'm thrilled because I feel the children are our future. I've been a special needs teacher for 34 years. So I was coming out to talk about accessibility and different things like that and let me tell you, they've covered everything."

Construction on the new fully accessible playgrounds is scheduled to begin in the spring of next year.

To give your input on what you'd like to see included at the parks call 3-11 or head to the City of Windsor website.

Below is a full list of the parks getting new equipment:

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Playgrounds to be replaced over the next two years (Photo courtesy of the City of Windsor)