The Southwest Booster
City announces Ashley Park Hall to be torn down
City officials met with residents of the Ashley Park area this past week to provide an update on plans for the community following a decision to demolish the Ashley Park Hall this spring.
An Open House was hosted on February 8 to share an update on plans for the neighbourhood in light of the pending removal of the Ashley Park Hall structure.
“That was the big trigger for us is when the Hall become potentially condemnable, and the community that had operated it for a number of years said they didn’t want to do it any more,” noted Jim Jones, Interim Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Swift Current. “So when the City went in to look inside the Hall it was in a state of disrepair. And just the potential that it needed a complete retro fit, which we had an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, and we still have a lot of space that’s rentable.”
Ashley Park Hall was originally a cinema utilized at #39 Service Flying Training School between December 1941 and March 1944. It was subsequently one of the buildings repurposed around the city, with other still in use locations the Lions Hall, the Shrine Hut, and the H Hut at Kinetic Park.
However, after Ashley Park Hall outlived its useful lifespan, the City wanted to revisit the redevelopment plan with residents because the initial plan included the continued use of the Hall as an amenity for the neighbourhood.
“At the end of the day it was to come and talk to the community and whoever wanted to come out. And I think a lot of the people wanted to talk about the development of the area as opposed to the Hall being taken down,” Jones noted. “And to give everybody a chance to talk about the development potential which is there. But the City has lots of lots right now that we would like to sell that we’ve invested a lot of money into before that (Ashley Park development) might ever happen.”
The Ashley Park Redevelopment Plan was released in 2018 after multiple community consultations. The re-development plan remains at the concept stage, with no detailed engineering yet in place. The plan allocates space for low density housing development, with 13 lots proposed, along with the continued use of the existing green space as soccer fields.
The City will be proceeding with some site improvements around the former Ashley Park School site which was demolished in 2017. Top soil from the Community Inclusive Playground Park will be utilized at the Ashley Park lot to improve landscaping, and grass will be seeded at the non-irrigated site to help maintain the location.
“I think we need to do a better job of keeping
that area more in tune. The clover was growing quite high there, and there are some areas that the pea gravel was still where the playground was. So we’ve talked to the Parks Manager and Michael’s (Newell) committed to put some dirt down there and some drought seed as what the basically calls it, and try to get the area
to look a little bit better and maybe have it on a better maintenance program that we have had,” Jones said.
Additionally, there was discussion at last Wednesday’s meeting on a playground along the
north side of Lorne St. E. following the demolition of Ashley Park Hall. An Outdoor Creekside Plaza will be constructed near the Swift Current Creek to accommodate the amenities from a nature interpretation and
outdoor classroom from the former school site. There was also discussion regarding the development of a small tot park, the development of a basketball court, plus connecting trails to the Chinook Parkway.