Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers cut a ribbon to officially open the new Lions Park playground equipment on Sept. 6, with Grade 2 students from Mother Teresa Early Childhood Education Centre on hand along with a couple of Lions Club officials. The project was funded by a Community Initiatives Fund grant in partnership with the city. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
The new Lion’s Park playground has been kid tested and approved.
The park was officially opened on Sept. 6 in a ribbon cutting ceremony with a Grade 2 class from Mother Teresa Early Childhood Education Centre hard at play.
One of those kids was seven-year-old Grade 2 student Jacob Tirao, who provided his testimonial.
“It’s kind of fun,” he said.
“My favourite part is the monkey bars.”
The new playground equipment was funded by a $20,000 grant from the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) in partnership with the City of Lloydminster.
After cutting a ribbon, Mayor Gerald Aalbers said the new playground structure meets current and future safety standards.
“We’ve got a young community,” he said.
“Those kids need a place to let off some energy that’s safe, in a place with a controlled atmosphere with fencing and things like that.”
He said the playground is one of the amenities that makes the city a great place to live.
Aalbers went on to say as the city grows it will look to build additional parks.
The Lions Park is located at 53 Avenue and 44 Street.
Richard McMahon, past president of the Lions Club said, “It’s very important we have something that’s safe and up to spec for playgrounds.”
He noted the Lions have been associated with the park for nearly 50 years, with additional plans in the works to improve it.
This fall, Lions volunteers plan to plant 14 new black spruce trees in locations where the city wants them, along with the installation of some park benches.
“They are a real durable bench made out of concrete and composite and they will have the Canada 150 name on them as well as the Lloydminster Lions logo,” said McMahon.
McMahon reported the Lions have been talking about the need to update and replace the playground equipment for the past five or six years, with CIF funding and city involvement finally making it happen.
“We needed that support to have proper playground equipment from government as well as local,” he said.
CIF is a grant program intended to support renovations and upgrades that are necessary for continued use and sustainability of community facilities.
The new playground put a smile on the face of Stacey Kusch, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Mother Teresa school, and said the kids get to use it during three recesses a day.
“With it being such wonderful weather it is especially great to have somewhere new to play,” she said with the new school year underway.
She said the old playground was an original wooden structure that the kids still enjoyed, but it wasn’t safe anymore.
“It was really necessary to get something new for the kids to play on safely,” she said.
“I think they are going to like the swings the most; we haven’t had swings before, also the things that spin, they love to spin, so I think they will enjoy that.”
She said it is also the envy of some former students who won’t get to use it as much.
“We had some former students come by and were quite disappointed to learn that right after they had to transfer to a new school in Grade 3, that we had built a new playground,” she said with a laugh.