Green space growing in downtown

Work has already started on a new park at 121st Street and 119th Avenue.

Work has already started on a new park at 121st Street and 119th Avenue.

Two new parks soon will be adding trees, grass and green space to the downtown along 221st and 222nd streets.

District of Maple Ridge parks staff already started work on one of them, at 221st Street and 119th Avenue, where thanks to a donation by the Raymond family of a corner lot, worth about $296,000, there’s already a pathway and some rough landscaping.

“We acquired that lot and the properties north of that are designated park, if and when they want to sell,” said Bruce McLeod, manager of parks and open space.

What eventually will become Raymond Park will start at 119th Avenue and continue for four lots north along 221st Street.

The district has already bought another lot, so with the donated lot already in hand, it needs to buy only two more properties. Once the district has all four lots, the park will be about three-quarters of an acre. “We’re very grateful to the Raymond family,” said McLeod.

About a block north of Dewdney Trunk Road on 222nd Street, the district already owns seven of 12 lots it wants to turn into a neighourhood park. While it’s still trying to acquire the remaining five, work can still start on the portion the district already owns.

Money for that project, $310,000, is already in this year’s budget. “The District of Maple Ridge is actively acquiring land in that area,” McLeod said.

“It’s all a matter of ready and willing seller. We’re not expropriating this property.”

McLeod said with the building of the supportive housing apartment building on Brown Avenue at 222nd Street, a community green space will disappear so the district wants to replace that with a new park.

“We’d like to accelerate this. There’s certainly a need in this neighbourhood.”

Consultation on what the neighbours would like to see the 222nd Street park starts this month and once a plan in place work should start this summer.

“These are really the focus at the moment.”

Maple Ridge is also getting public input this year for a new park in Silver Valley at 132nd Avenue and 237A Street with plans for construction next year.