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New play space in Galt Gardens now open

We are ready to press play on the new Inclusive and Accessible Play Space at Galt Gardens.

Located immediately adjacent to the Rotary Centennial Fountain in the southeast corner of the four-hectare park, the new space features inclusive and accessible play equipment, rubber surfacing, a plaza space and park furniture.

With goals of increasing community vibrancy and the vitality of Downtown by fostering active, social, educational, inclusive and accessible play opportunities, the space also addresses a notable previous gap in recreation and play opportunities within a 10-minute walking distance in Downtown Lethbridge.

This project was made possible thanks in part to Federal funding through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF), which is administered in Alberta by PrairiesCan. Through the CCRF in 2022, the City of Lethbridge was successful in securing $375,000 – which represents more than 50 per cent of the $662,000 total project cost. The CCRF is a two-year $500-million national infrastructure program designed to support communities across the country with projects that revitalize downtown cores and main streets, reinvent outdoor spaces, create green infrastructure, and address accessibility of community space.

“Our government is partnering with communities across the Prairies to create accessible and inclusive public spaces,” says the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “Our support for the City of Lethbridge to revitalize Galt Gardens will help enable people of all ages and abilities to gather and enjoy all that this centrally located park has to offer.”

“This new play space at Galt Gardens will help meet an important need for an inclusive and accessible recreational amenity for those visiting and living in Lethbridge’s downtown,” says George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview. “I’m proud to see our government partnering with the City of Lethbridge to support the vibrancy of the city’s downtown while creating new opportunities for community members to gather and enjoy the outdoors.”

“On behalf of Lethbridge City Council, I would like to thank the Federal Government for their support to this project,” says City Councillor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel. “As Galt Gardens is the primary downtown festival and events park in Lethbridge, this project will attract more families to events in the park as well as utilize the space daily throughout the year. Parks and public spaces bring people together, attract people to downtown cores and provide opportunities for residents and visitors to benefit from nearby local businesses and attractions.”

The remaining funding of $287,000 comes from a previously-approved budget in Public Realm Enhancements for $152,000, plus $125,000 approved by Lethbridge City Council in the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program, as well as $10,000 from the Kal Tire Replay Fund.

“Kal Tire is proud to work with projects across Canada that support learning and development of community members of all-ages through inclusive play and interaction,” says Simon Hendriks, Store Manager of Kal Tire South in Lethbridge. “Since 2019, the RePlay Fund has supported recycling millions of pounds of rubber to give tires a second chance at life in long-lasting rubber products. Kal's RePlay Fund is open every year in January and February to non-profit organizations and municipalities who want to upgrade community infrastructure with recycled rubber products.”

The Galt Gardens Inclusive and Accessible Play Space will continue to leverage exciting synergies created between Festival Square, 3 Avenue Reconstruction, Casa, the Rotary Fountain, new and existing businesses downtown and future Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) expansion.

“This will be great addition to our downtown and this project is a major step forward to helping public perception at Galt Gardens, so we are thankful for the support it has received,” says Justin Schipper, Urban Revitalization Admin and Project Manager.

When construction began earlier this year, some residents expressed concerns about adding a play space to Galt Gardens. We aimed to answer those questions and assure our community this project is based on both long-term planning and fiscal responsibility. Read more here.

“The Lethbridge Police Service supports opportunities to enhance positive activity in all city parks,” said Downtown Policing Sergeant Ryan Darroch. 

A community advisory committee, which included representation from the Heart of Our City Committee, the Downtown BRZ, Casa, SAAG, Lethbridge Plays and the Rotary Club of Lethbridge, were consulted for design ideas.

“The BRZ is delighted to see the all-inclusive play space come to Galt Gardens,” says Sarah Amies, Executive Director for the Downtown BRZ. “The addition of the play area featuring interactive and sensory aspects along with easily accessible play equipment will encourage community to spend more time in the core as they shop, eat, access personal services and now, spend more time playing safely in the park. The BRZ welcomes initiatives like these that create positive messaging and experiences in the Downtown."

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