The current and previous Village of Westport Councils gave strong support to developing Lockwood Memorial Field and Park into a place that will welcome everyone and be inclusive for people of all ages, all mental and physical abilities and where they can enjoy a peaceful day or one full of activities with family and friends.
The plan for the revitalization of the park is built upon the results of the Lockwood Memorial Park survey completed in 2014, which had a significant return rate of 35%, and includes: a walking path, stage area for the arts and family gatherings, spray pad for children, ageless playground/fitness area, Cenotaph relocation with a memorial walk, basketball court, improvements to the baseball field, picnic and leisure areas and gardens. This plan was approved by Council earlier this year and has been used to apply for provincial and federal grants and in correspondence from the Mayor to Lockwood Foundation asking for funding. The planning considerations for the government grant applications require the park to be open 12 months a year; to be accessible for people of all ages, all physical and mental abilities and all community groups; and that future arts, leisure and tourism events and programming can occur.
Over the next 6 weeks, the final steps in the demolition of the tennis courts and shuffleboard will be completed in Lockwood Memorial Field and Park. Last Thursday, the new owner of the shuffleboard fencing removed it and the tennis court fencing owner will do the same by Labour Day. The Village is tendering for removal of asphalt in the tennis and shuffleboard courts as well as for the construction of the walkway around the park. This work will be completed in 2016. Plans are proceeding to move the cenotaph in 2017 from its current location in front of the fire hall to be front and centre inside the Memorial Gates at the George Street entrance to Lockwood Memorial Field and Park.
The Village is applying for federal and provincial grants for sources of revenue. However, so far the renewal of Lockwood Memorial Field into a park that we all can enjoy is being funded through donations. Generous donations.
The Lockwood Foundation has committed $100,000 to the Village over the next 4 years. In 2016, they have given $25,000. The Village needs to raise additional funds in 2017 – 2019 to receive the rest of the grant money. The continued support from the Lockwood Foundation is deeply appreciated and vital to building a sustainable park.
Individual donations from community members are helping move the projects along. To date, donations of $1,000 have been received from Kim and Rick Bonner, The Cove Country Inn and Robin Jones. Rob and Marianne Roberts and Seasons of Westport have helped out with $500 each. David Egan provided architectural support and you will see his work in the professional drawing of the renewal plan for the park.
Moving the Cenotaph is the Village’s Sesquicentennial Project, a decision supported by Branch 542 of the Royal Canadian Legion. The relocation of the cenotaph will help us remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we enjoy the freedoms we have. A generous donation from Gregory and Susan (Hamilton) Guichon of $10,000 covers 50% of moving the cenotaph to its new location inside the Memorial gates. Mr and Mrs Guichon have become involved in the Village, helping out in a variety of ways and picking up where Dr Hamilton left off. In particular, this donation from the Guichons, which will help move the cenotaph to a prime location in the park, builds upon the deep Hamilton family service to Westport. Dr Hamilton helped shape the Village of Westport through his unfailing dedication and service to the Westport area from the early years of the 1900s until his death in 1955.
How can you help with the renewal of Lockwood Memorial Field? For the month of August, Kudrinko’s Country Grocer will be holding a Twoonie Month. Your cashier will ask if you would like to donate $2 to the park. Please consider helping. You could ‘Be the Spark – in Lockwood Park.’ Thanks Neil and Martha!
To see a diagram of the plans, you can drop by Town Hall or the front display panel outside of the Arena. There will be an Open House in the next couple of months to provide you with further information.
If you have any questions about the Lockwood Memorial Field and Park renewal, please contact the Councillor of your choice or Mayor Robin Jones.