‘If you build a park, people will come,’ advocate Andrew Conway told town council at their Nov. 6 meeting
While future plans for 84 Hurontario St. may still be up in the air, a local advocate is hoping the town will consider transforming the space into a permanent town square public park.
During the Nov. 6 regular meeting of council, resident Andrew Conway provided a presentation to councillors asking them to consider the benefits of using the space as a permanent park. His plea comes ahead of a downtown visioning exercise to be completed by the town in 2024 that will determine the final use for the site.
Conway is starting a grassroots movement aiming striking a committee to further the suggestion, including launching a survey to gather public input.
“As a volunteer, I went to the square with a clipboard to ask questions. The most common response I got was, ‘What park?’ as we stood in the middle of it,” Conway told councillors.
The town purchased the vacant land at 84 Hurontario Street on Oct. 28, 2022 for $1.7 million. The Collingwood BIA had approached the town with the suggestion the town purchase the property.
The BIA took the torch on an interim activation for the land, including removing and fixing broken rubble, adding asphalt on the concrete pad, removing trip hazards and installing an entrance path from Hurontario Street. Benches, planters and bike racks were pulled from the BIA’s existing inventory and installed on the site in time for Canada Day this past July.
The short-term work had a budget estimate of $50,000, which was paid out of the BIA budget through a government grant.
Long-term plans for 84 Hurontario will be determined through a new downtown planning exercise, which will be happening in tandem with the community-based