Feature Story                                                                                                           Thursday, June 13, 2013


Apple of Chilliwack's Eye

Park an activity hub for local seniors

Staff/Voice photos


Skelton Park is finished and ready to use. Below, long-time Chilliwack resident Henry Heppner enjoys the park on one of his daily walks.


ime took its toll on Skelton Park at 8535 Young Rd., leaving cracked and uneven pavement along with a non-functional water fountain. Of all the niche parks in Chilliwack, this diminutive strip of land across from City Hall was due for a refit.


The land for the park was donated in 1966 by the Skelton family in memory of Norman Alfred Skelton.


Visitors to the park now will find that designers maximized the linear shape of the land and came up with a gorgeous, wheelchair-friendly layout with new paths and plenty of space.


Beautiful landscaping frames a new water fountain that includes a sculpted retaining wall emblazoned with the park's name.


Last August, council approved an invitation to tender for redevelopment of the park from Gerry Enns Contracting Ltd. with a budget of $177,000 paid for through Development Cost Charges, which are generally used for infrastructure work in the city.


Gordon Pederson; Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture, told The Voice in an e-mail this week, that they identified three main issues with the park; the broken water fountain, a large tree that had become unstable, and the uneven concrete sidewalks.


"The funding provided a retaining wall for the tree to provide stabilization, new concrete plaza and pathways, a new water feature, and redesigned planting beds," said Pederson.


He said the concrete sidewalks were very important to repair because the park is popular with seniors.


"The smooth pathways now improve accessibility for those in wheelchairs and walkers."


Henry Heppner, 89, lives in a retirement home nearby and comes to the park daily. His parents moved to Chilliwack in 1929 when he was only 5-years-old. Now, more than eight decades later, he still loves the area and appreciates the efforts put into the restoration.


"I love it here, they did a great job fixing it up," he said when asked how he likes his park now.


See more photos below.


Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice


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