Residents making use of new park
The new Smith Pioneer Park in Lower Nicola is shaping up to be everything the community expected when the nearly $300,000 project was given the official green light last spring.
Lower Nicola Community Association president Karen Knapp said she is thrilled with the number of people using the new $60,000 tennis courts, which were completed on Thanksgiving weekend.
"They took all the old pavement out, repaved the whole thing so it has a new surface on it for tennis courts," she said. "So it turns into a whole new tennis court, which is nice."
The playground construction will likely get started in two weeks, and the energy-efficient sprinkler system will likely be installed in the spring.
Knapp said the association members would also like to consider upgrading the playing field so it is regulated for tournament use.
Members also have their eyes on several other projects that aren't included in the original budget.
"We still want to add on to the playground, moving forward, and add bleachers for people to sit," she said. "But that is where we don't know when we will be able to finish."
The original plans included a new soccer field, a playground, a 430-metre perimeter walking track, a retaining wall, a horse corral, new lighting and refurbished tennis courts.
The retaining wall, track, fencing, tennis courts, horse corral, electrical and lighting have been completed, Knapp said.
She said the remaining funds will be dedicated to an additional fence, a wheelchair ramp and the playground.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District contributed $35,000 in April from the Gas Tax Fund, which added to the B.C. government portion of about $214,000 from their $30-million Community Recreation Program.
The Lower Nicola Community Association also raised $40,000.
According to Randy Murray, TNRD Area 'M' director, about $30,000 of that was from in-kind donations.
"Schools, community groups, sports organizations and individual residents from Lower Nicola, the City of Merritt and the First Nations communities have provided letters committing to the use of this facility if upgraded," he is on record as saying.
The TNRD estimated nearly 10,000 people from Lower Nicola, Canford, Sunshine Valley and Merritt will use the new Smith Pioneer Park.
The park, located on Aberdeen Road, is approximately 1.5 hectares and was first constructed in 1986.