Perking up the park

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Recreation director Ian Frankton, left, and Hay River Elks president Gary Hoffman are eager to see the new equipment for Tr-Service park installed once the snow melts.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Recreation director Ian Frankton, left, and Hay River Elks president Gary Hoffman are eager to see the new equipment for Tr-Service park installed once the snow melts.

The Tri-Service park will be getting a facelift once the snow melts, with the addition of $10,000 worth of new equipment, donated by the park’s three founding groups.

“It sees so much use now, it’s almost overloaded,” said Elks president Gary Hoffman. “We’re adding to it now, but there’s certainly room for more expansion later on.”

Hoffman said his own service club, the now-defunct Kiwanis club, and the local Lions chapter all donated money put toward the equipment, but the partnership goes back much further.

The park area itself was identified by the three clubs as an area for development in 1984 and 1985. The original plan was to build a field suitable for minor ball, but 1993, the groups saw a need for playground equipment. At the time, they bought about $10,000 worth of equipment, which remains in place today.

The ball diamond saw a lot of use in previous years, according to Hoffman, but has now been taken over by the growing Elks Soccer Club.

“Under the new executive, the soccer league has become huge,” he said. “This past summer, the park was being used throughout the whole day and into the evening as well. The playground equipment was being used every day and the number of kids kept increasing, to the point that the existing equipment was being overloaded.”

The current structure, according to recreation director Ian Frankton, is still viable and the new equipment – set to be installed in the spring – will only expand on what’s there.

“The park was built to be expanded,” he said. “This was a perfect fit. It’s good to have places where parents and groups can go for some structured recreation.”

Hoffman said the partnership with the municipal recreation department has been a happy one, whereby the town handles the installation and maintenance of the park and the three service groups fund it. The initial investment was approximately $90,000, with another $20,000 added for equipment in 1993 and 2014.

“We have a number of friends who take their kids there,” said Hoffman. “We asked those kids what they wanted to see, so some of the equipment is things they asked for. I think the people who use it are looking forward to the improvements, but in the end, it’s all for the kids.”

–Sarah Ladik