Work started on the first new downtown park in eight years today (January 17) as the park board broke ground on what it called a "dynamic multilayered" green space.
In a news release, the city said the new park, at Smithe and Richards streets, will cover almost an acre of ground and include a community plaza and decorative fountain, a playground, a cafe, an elevated pedestrian walkway with "vantage points", and overhead "sky frames" that will support art installations and lighting.
Seating within the elevated portion will contain two large suspended hammocks that will offer "an interactive place for individuals and groups to hang out".
The city claims that 30,000 people live within a five-minute walk of the proposed park, which is scheduled to open early in 2021. About 100,000 prospective visitors live within a 10-minute walk.
According to the release, the process to design the park began in 2015 with a community-engagement process, continued through 2016 with a design approval, and proceeded to today's ceremony with the naming of a recommended contractor in December 2019. The price tag for the new facility is expected to be about $14 million.
According to a December 2, 2019, internal park-board report summary, 77 percent of neighbourhood respondents in a final engagement survey approved the design.
Park board chair Camil Dumont said in the release that the "diverse population" in the Downtown South "expects more from our parks".
“They must offer respite, recreation, and social interaction, as well as unique experiences. The design of this new park reflects residents’ requests for a park that is bolder and forward thinking."
The new green space is expected to open by spring 2021.