Design plan in the works for park concept at Harriston arena grounds

Kinsmen, agricultural society to work with Town of Minto on project

MINTO – Work is underway to create a design plan for developing the Harriston-Minto Community Complex grounds into a large multi-faceted park.

“With the former trailer park being vacant, the town has the option of redeveloping that area into a usable park area that will be a benefit to the entire community,” states a staff report presented by interim co-CAO Chris Harrow at the Feb. 28 town council meeting.

While coordinated development of the grounds surrounding the arena and ballpark has been under discussion for some time, Harrow told council the current impetus is a proposal by the Harriston Kinsmen Club to install a multi-use pad on the property.

Harrow said staff decided to consider the proposal in conjunction with overall park development.

“Maybe the best thing we can do is design an overall sketch or plan for the entire arena grounds, stretching from the agricultural shed in the back corner all the way around to the old trailer park, so to the river,” he explained.

“And then it could even include the conservation area across the river and the pool area.”

Harrow said the intent is to create a “sketch for that entire grounds” considering “things we’ve learned from Lions Park in Palmerston and making this grounds into one desirable place that anybody in Harrison wants to go to.

“We just feel … it would be a huge drawing area for the town of Harriston and for the people in Harriston to be able to come and enjoy a really well laid-out park,” he added.

The staff report states the potential for the Harriston arena grounds as well as the former trailer park is “immense.

“The Town has the ability to design an overall plan for the entire area that will benefit all ages in the community,” states the report.

It notes meetings have taken place with the Harriston Kinsmen, who have agreed to participate with the overall plan and taken on various projects within the park “to help complete the vision.”

Conversations have also taken place with the Harriston-Minto Agricultural Society.

Development of the former trailer park lands in Harriston will be part of a park concept design planned for the local arena grounds. Photo by Patrick Raftis


“They have an interest in the park as well and are willing to participate in the design. They may be interested in completing various projects within the park in the future,” the report notes.

The report indicates staff have contacted architects Stemsky and Kelly, who have previous experience with the park, and are proposing a committee be formed consisting of two members of the Kinsmen Club, and representatives from the agricultural society and town staff, including town landscape coordinator Paul Judge.

“The goal will be to come up with a completed design that will be brought back to council for approval,” the report states.

“Once approved, the various clubs can begin fundraising and working at the various projects.”

“We’re presently getting prices from an architect we’ve used before on the project, which is included in the 2023 budget,” said Harrow.

“We’re going to work with the Kinsmen Club, with the ag society and town staff to come up with … a drawing that we can release to the public, get comments on and then show council, kind of get a final draft of the park plan approved and then that would be our roadmap for the next however many years.”

Kinsmen Club president Curt MacDonald said Harrow’s presentation “illustrated exactly what our intentions are.

“We want to build a pad, build it with a plan moving forward … We’d also liked that if we do build something, that it would be named after the Kinsmen,” said MacDonald.

In response to a question regarding costs from councillor Ron Elliott, Harrow said any projects within the park would be done in partnership with other organizations.

“The Kinsmen are more than keen to take on a project by themselves and progress with the project, but it would all fall under the procurement of the town … like we have a partnership with the Palmerston Lions Club (on the Palmerston Lions Heritage Park),” said Harrow.

“They (Harriston Kinsmen) would take projects on … they have tons of labour that they want to donate and lots of people that are looking to do stuff that won’t cost anything.

“So it’s just gathering everyone together and getting everybody pointing in the right direction.”

Mayor Dave Turton thanked the Kinsmen for coming forward to help and Harrow for his work on the project.

“We’re looking forward to this park and and going through as a partnership,” the mayor stated.

“We again look to our volunteers in all of … our centres to do a lot of this work for us.

“And it’s pretty amazing how we do have so many volunteers.”

Council accepted the report as information.