An underused and poorly maintained Thorncliffe Park playground could soon be transformed into a vibrant community hub complete with a cricket field, amphitheatre, butterfly garden, and extensive green space. As reported by the Globe & Mail
, the $1.7-million "Valley Park Go Green" plan was initiated by a group of community activists and staff at Valley Park Middle School in an effort to give the children living in one of Toronto's densest low-come neighbourhoods "somewhere to go".
"Led by principal Nickolas Stefanoff, they plan to transform the school's playground into a community hub that will include a regulation-size cricket field, an attraction sure to draw residents out from the towers."
"Cricket isn't just a sport for many of the neighbourhood's residents, Mr. Stefanoff says. "It's a religion."
"If we need drivers for a field trip, you might get one or two. But a cricket tournament? Everyone has their own driver," says Mr. Hayter, who is also coach of the school's cricket team."
"The pitch may be its centrepiece, but the plan for the Valley Park Go Green Cricket Field project also includes an amphitheatre, butterfly garden, public gardens, a system that will divert rainwater from the school's roof to be used for irrigation, a bioswale (a landscape feature that traps pollutants) and much more green space covered by a generous tree canopy, all occupying three hectares (7.5 acres) of land."
"It's going beyond a schoolyard," says Arifa Hai, the landscape architect who is working on the project."
"We have a $3-billion backlog in school renewal … so this kind of very significant capital investment in a school field that will serve the school but also serve the community, we don't have board funds to be able to do that," says Sheila Penny, director of strategic building and renewal at the TDSB."
"Still, those behind the project say they are confident they will be able to raise the $1.7-million needed."
"Funding is beginning to pour in, says Lisa Green, co-chair of the Valley Park Go Green committee. The group expects to receive about $1-million in various grants in the next three months, and has received donations from several organizations, including $50,000 from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and $25,000 from the Live Green Toronto's stormwater management program."
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original source Globe & Mail