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Community-designed 'four-season park' reopens in Elmvale

'I played at this park as a young boy, so as a father to then get to take my kids here, it’s pretty neat,' says councillor
Springwater Coun. Matt Garwood, who is also an Elmvale resident, will be making memories with his children on the new playground equipment that was installed in the village's Homer Barrett Park.

Few people in Elmvale are happier with the reopening of Homer Barrett Park than Matt Garwood.

The Elmvale resident and Springwater Township councillor, who represents Ward 1 and lives just a stone’s throw away, has a lifetime of fond memories at the park.

He’s hoping the new park, located at 43 Centennial Ave., will provide the same for his children.

“I played at this park as a young boy, so as a father to then get to take my kids here, it’s pretty neat,” Garwood said shortly after the park was officially reopened by Springwater Mayor Jennifer Coughlin on Friday afternoon.

“The great part of this is the community very much participated in the consultation and what is here today is what they asked for,” he added.

According to Briana Dean, the township's manager of recreation, parks and facilities, the consultation process started in 2022.

“We worked with a landscape architect who did two consultation sessions — one at the farmers’ market in town and one day here (at Homer Barrett Park) when the park was filled,” Dean said.

“Folks were asked what type of feature they would like to see. Three designs were developed and the community voted on the winning design,” she added.

Construction in the park, which cost $200,000 and was paid for through the provincial Community Building Fund, was done late last summer.

While the park could be used during construction, Garwood said this will be the first full summer that residents will be able to enjoy the new playground equipment and walking trails, which complement the existing splash pad, toboggan hill and ice rink.

“With the growth that is occurring here, folks want a space they can enjoy on a Saturday afternoon, whether that’s an afternoon on the ice or the splash pad,” Garwood said. “It really is a four-season park.”

According to Garwood, the park will see some additional improvements over the next couple of years, including washrooms and change facilities, a multi-purpose sports court and, in the 2025 budget, new boards for the rink structure.

The new rink boards would make the park’s namesake pretty happy.

An Elmvale hockey legend who scored 1,000 goals over the course of his career, Homer Barrett was also a star infielder with the Elmvale Merchants baseball club.

The recipient of numerous ‘most valuable player’ awards and scoring titles, Barrett was locally declared sportsman of the 1960s.  

The park was named in his honour.

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Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wayne Doyle covers the townships of Springwater, Oro-Medonte and Essa for BarrieToday under the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), which is funded by the Government of Canada
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