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Conestogo celebrates much-needed overhaul of community park

It’s been two years in the making, but the Conestego Community Park is open and ready for the pitter patter of little feet. And it’s already being put to good use, as evidenced by the birthday party in full swing during the June 14 re-opening festivities.Post_ConestogoPark
Karen Makela, Woolwich’s director of recreation and facilities services, said the Conestego Recreation Association approached the township in 2012 with a vision for upgrades to the park.
“We started in 2012 and we wanted to ensure that this park met the needs of the community,” said Makela. “So in order to do that we did some pretty heavy consultation.”
They did a telephone poll, an online survey, and created a focus group of 20 people to discover what the needs of the community were. The focus group met throughout the entire process and then the town gathered the results for analysis.
“It’s a wonderful facility that will serve the residents of Conestego,” said Makela.
Ward 3 Coun. Bonnie Bryant said the park had been deteriorating for years and the fencing was in especially bad shape. The renovations allowed for hockey to be played this past winter, for instance.
The park should last 30 to 40 years before it needs another facelift, she added.
“We now have proper tennis courts on the other side that weren’t there before,” said Bryant. “We didn’t have boards to make this into a hockey rink before. We had basketball nets before but they were in bad shape.”
Bryant said parks like this are important to help build communities and provide meeting places. It will give children and families somewhere to go, she added.
“They bring your communities together,” said Bryant. “People will come out; the kids get a lot of use out of these. It creates a community.”
Mayor Todd Cowan noted the outdoor ice rink has already seen lots of use. It will also be used for basketball and ball hockey. The total cost of the park was $326,000. He said they received $25,000 from local residents and $18,000 from the Conestego Winterbourne Optimist Club to help fund the park.
“One of the things that we’ve really tried to emphasize in the township is recreation and giving kids something to do,” said Cowan. “It’s a great source of crime prevention, when you start looking at small towns especially. It’s great to have something for kids to do.”

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