The planned redevelopment of a long-time southeast Calgary park was inspired by kids playing basketball on a concrete pad.
Parks Foundation Calgary broke ground on the George Moss Park redevelopment during an event held at the location on Wednesday. The project, located at 74 Avenue and 24 Street SE in the community of Ogden, is set to begin construction next week and the Parks Foundation is hopeful to see the project completed by this fall.
The George Moss Park project was started because the youth in the area were playing on a small concrete pad at the back of a house with balls rolling out into the street. When people started hearing that the youth didn’t have a proper place to play, they jumped on board to get the project moving.
“This didn’t start with the city, this didn’t start with the Parks Foundation, this started with kids playing basketball,” said Sheila Taylor, Parks Foundation CEO.
The redevelopment is in partnership with the Youth Centres of Calgary (YCC) and the Green Line LRT to create a gathering space welcoming for all.
When brought up to the podium, Jane Wachowich, Executive Director of YCC, invited all the children that attended the groundbreaking ceremony to stand with her.
“These kids are the future of our city. They’re going to create wonderful opportunities for themselves and their families and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Wachowich.
The YCC headquarters is located just a one-minute walk from George Moss Park. Yet, Wachowich said that there are still kids playing basketball on their cement pad seven days a week until sundown.
“This is an accident waiting to happen. We can put as many cones on the street as we want but someday, the ball is going to dribble and there’s going to be a problem and I don’t want that to happen,” said Wachowich.
The redevelopment is also being supported by many donors such as the Calgary Flames Foundation, the Calgary Foundation, Thornhill Child Care and the Sofina Foundation.
Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra said that he is glad to see that the project is leading with infrastructure that will serve and transform the community today right in its heart.
“Ward nine is East Calgary, and East Calgary are the working neighbourhoods and landscapes that built the city that we love today and that are actively building the city that we’re becoming because of our diversity of opportunity and people and place,” he said.
Sam Taylor is a resident of the surrounding area of George Moss Park. She said that she takes her six-year-old daughter to the park three to four times a week. Sam said that the park up the hill is more suitable for her daughters’ size and age but would benefit from having more options at George Moss Park.
“She’s finally growing into this park, but having something smaller when she was when smaller would have been great,” said Sam.
The proposed park features are expected to include two artistic half-basketball courts, a full-size basketball court, increased seating, a community plaza, a playground suitable for toddlers, green space, a fire pit and the existing community skating area, according to the Parks Foundation Calgary.
“We want public spaces to be used all year round. Winter is long in this city and so this park will serve summer and winter use [and] will have toddlers right alongside teens, families and seniors,” said Sheila Taylor.