Trenton Park revitalization beginning

Community COVID-19 Featured

Even a global health pandemic can’t keep great things from happening at Trenton Park.

A tender has just been awarded to Higgins Construction in the amount of $1,699,700 for the first phase of work as part of the revitalization project spurred by The Hemlock Group, a group of engaged volunteers whose goal is to create an outdoor recreation facility for the use of all of Pictou County and the greater community in the park which, as a regional resource, is more than 560 acres.

Last August, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser announced $2.2 million in federal funding, while Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines said the province will contribute $1.2 million. Funding from the five participating municipal units — Trenton, New Glasgow, Stellarton, Pictou and the Municipality of Pictou County — totals $254,518.

The entire project features a playground that will include a recreation ground, upgraded pool and picnic area, renovated trails and increased parking, among other things. ‘The revitalization plan has been developed to provide an improved overall user experience, better accessibility, and long-term sustainability.

The Hemlock Group’s Jen Bethell has been working on this project since 2013, recruiting members and building a business case taking a population health model approach.

“That took a lot of work,” she says.

They were assisted by the fourth-year business students through St. Francis Xavier University’s BBA business consulting course. “It was a great start and we were very happy to build that partnership with them.”

She is thrilled that the work is about to begin.

“Green space is massively important. People are looking for trails and year-round type of activities,” she said. With the revitalization of Trenton Park, it will offer something for people of all ages and with varying interests.

“When this is built we hope it will encourage people to get outside and get active. It’s a proactive way to look after your population from a cost perspective as opposed to reactive; prevent disease as opposed to treat it, by encouraging people to lead a more healthy, active lifestyle.”

The work — to be carried out in three phases — will take place this year and into the 2021 construction seasons.

Phase 1 work will include completing improvements to the front entrance, parking lot and the civil upgrades required for future improvements inside the park. The pool area will be upgraded as will the central entrance area with a gazebo; a new splash pad will be installed.

Phase 2, which is expected to begin later this year, will include completing building construction services throughout the winter, including new washrooms to the pool and splash pad area.

Phase 3, planned for next year, will focus on installing new playground equipment, a dog park, trail upgrades, shade shelters and seating areas as well as additional service upgrades. This work is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2021.

Each of the main features to be added to the park and ideas for some others came from a combination of a public consultation process that took place over several months during the summer and fall of 2012 along with extensive research completed by the Hemlock Group in consultation with the Town of Trenton.

Trenton Mayor Shannon MacInnis is thrilled with the project. “The Town of Trenton is extremely excited to finally see some shovels in the ground. After years of hard work by the Hemlock Group and the Town, we will get to see our efforts paid off with the commencement of the park renovations. It is hard to imagine that any resident of Trenton — or Pictou County for that matter — wouldn’t be thrilled to see what the final product will look like. We hope everyone enjoys the enhancements for years to come.”

MacInnis lauded the federal and provincial governments for their support, as well as the municipal counterparts who he said “stepped up to support this jewel of the county.”

Trenton’s recreation director, Craig Murray, is equally enthusiastic about the project.

“The Trenton Park Revitalization Project is a very exciting time as it will provide some much needed upgrades and new features to what is already a one of a kind recreation and community asset.”

Murray says once the renovations are complete, it will have laid the foundation for Trenton Recreation to further utilize the park.

“It will expand possible programming opportunities, enhance the user experience of park goers and once again become a destination for not only local citizens but a tourist destination for all Nova Scotia and the rest of Atlantic Canada.”