Ten Facts About Mississippi Mills Parks in General and Don Maynard Park Specifically
There is a significant amount of controversy surrounding a proposal by Mississippi Mills Council to expand recreational services. To put the issue in some perspective, here is a brief list of park facts.
- Mississippi Mills owns 25 parks and three properties it leases for park space, for a total of 169.33 acres. (In comparison, Smiths Falls and Perth both have 11 parks totaling just over 100 acres.)
- Almonte ward has 14 of the Town’s parks, totaling 114 acres.
- Park space is growing in Almonte as new subdivisions develop. Three park areas in Riverfront Estates will provide 6.09 acres and the park in Mill Run will add 7.02 acres. (These are included in the totals noted above.)
- The Town wants to expand recreation and youth-oriented facilities in Gemmill Park, including a splash pad, a skateboard park, a new play structure and better washrooms. The projected cost is $850,000..
- To help fund the Gemmill Park upgrade, the Town has proposed to sell Don Maynard Park (less than one acre). This park, in the southeast corner of Almonte, is close to the existing Meadow Glen Park (2.2 acres) and the three new parks in Riverfront Estates.
- The Town proposes to also sell the adjacent lot (known as Block 42). Holy Name of Mary School has used Block 42 as playground rent free for years. Removing Block 42 from the playground reduces the play area from approximately 4.75 acres to about 3.75 acres—a 20% decrease.
- The Town offered to sell Block 42 to the school at the low end of the appraised value, payable over five years. The school board declined the offer.
- A 2013 recreation master plan prepared by Stantec noted the town has a plentiful supply of parks and recommended the following: “Declare Don Maynard Park as surplus to the Town’s needs except for land for a pathway from the street to the school site.”
- If the town sells Don Maynard Park, Council has committed to naming another park in Don Maynard’s honour.
- If the Town does not sell the two properties, three choices remain regarding the Gemmill Park upgrades:
—scale back the upgrades
—raise taxes to pay for the upgrades
—add to the Town’s debt load by borrowing for the upgrades