It’s a fitting tribute to one of Innisfil’s accessibility pioneers.
The municipality is preparing to move forward with the nearly $5.2-million Margaretta Park, which will feature an all-inclusive accessible playground area, with construction slated to be finished in fall 2024.
This 3.5-hectare site will be built in the middle of the Sleeping Lion subdivision — near the 6th Line and 20th Sideroad intersection — and it will be named in honour of Margaretta Papp-Belayneh, former chair of the Innisfil Accessibility Advisory Committee, who died in March 2018.
“Focusing on wheelchair accessibility and ensuring inclusiveness has been a focus for the committee,” town capital project manager Meredith Goodwin said. “I have had the pleasure to work (with) and learn from this wonderful group of people, which has really improved the way we design public spaces in Innisfil. I am especially proud of the partnership on this project, and look forward to starting construction in 2024, to bring the committee’s dream for the community a reality.”
The committee chose the site due to its central location within the municipality.
Innisfil staff have secured the playground and splash-pad supplier, they’re currently working with a landscape architect to complete the final design, and the project should be tendered in 2023, according to the town website.
Once complete, the park will also include multi-use trails, parking, a washroom facility with shade structures, naturalized plantings and open green space.
The initial project budget was set at $2.5 million. Another $1.7 million has since been added for the washrooms, and the project ballooned again by more than $812,000 to cover added costs related to inflationary and supply chain pressures and a more detailed set of price estimates.
While the town applied unsuccessfully for two grants from higher levels of government, the committee did secure a $12,000 commitment from the Innisfil Beach Cruisers Car Club, Goodwin said.
Since 2016, all playgrounds replaced in Innisfil include equipment for children with different abilities and exceed the minimum requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
For more details on the park, visit innisfil.ca.