ARTHUR – The Opti-Mrs playground, located at 158 Domville Street by the Arthur arena, re-opened to the public on June 3 after undergoing $120,000 worth of upgrades.
The playground was identified as requiring upgrades as part of the Township of Wellington North’s 2020 recreation capital program and the recreation master plan. Because of the pandemic, upgrades were delayed until this year. The playground was installed by Park N Play Design.
The playground was specifically designed to include many levels and types of sensory, cognitive, and auditory-rich experiences for users. Graduated levels of challenge are incorporated to encourage healthy risk taking and equal play opportunities. The equipment is strategically placed so it can be accessed by all ages and abilities.
“It was great to partner with the township through this process and we could not have done it without them,” said Shawna Lougheed, president of the Arthur Opti-Mrs Club.
“The Opti-Mrs have received numerous messages about how happy people are, how it has put smiles on so many faces and how excited the kids are for this new park.”
Lougheed said there is still some work to be completed on the pavilion structure by the play equipment.
“We’re going to revamp the pavilion. We did get a new sign, and the Opti-Mrs got a new logo.”
Lougheed added the pavilion will include bright and colourful designs to match the colours of the new playground.
“We’re getting everything power sprayed to get it all cleaned up, because I think it’s been a while since it’s been re-done that way.”
The pavilion revamp will be coming in the next two weeks.
“We partnered with the Arthur Opti-Mrs along the way, and we’re so excited to see it come to fruition,” said Wellington North’s community recreation coordinator Mandy Jones.
“One of the really great things we were able to do was reflect the Opti-Mrs colours in that playground structure.”
The upgrading of the playground is one of several projects the township’s recreation, parks and leisure committee has seen completed this year. Recently, the township partnered with the Arthur BIA to open a new outdoor gym space at the crossroads of Isabella, Charles, and Georgina Streets. Additionally, the Arthur Pool and Arthur Arena have also been receiving upgrades.
“We are very excited to see a lot of the projects going forward,” Jones said.
“Our 2020 and 2021 capital budget program for recreation, parks, and leisure was quite extensive, and we’re seeing a lot of those projects now coming to fruition, which is great.”
Jones said although the pandemic has caused many of the township’s recreation facilities to close, these closures have allowed them to upgrade their facilities, allowing them to be improved and ready for the public to enjoy as the pandemic begins to come to a close.
Jones encourages people to continue following COVID safety guidelines when using the playground.
“We’ve tried to make recreation more customer service focused,” said councillor Steve McCabe, chair of the recreation, parks and leisure committee.
“Service clubs in our community have been willing to help out with projects again and again.”
McCabe echoed Jones’ point about the township taking advantage of having its facilities forced to close during the pandemic, saying they have managed to “make the best of a bad situation.”
“We’re going to be better off than we were when COVID hit,” McCabe said.
The township plans to host an official grand-opening event for the playground and pavilion in the fall, although the playground is now open for the public to use.