It’s taken 17 months, but a long-awaited plan for the city to purchase a portion of Davisville’s Manor Road United Church land for conversion into a public park is to be finalized in early November.
“I’m proud to say that working together, we are going to have Ward 22’s newest, most wonderful park right here at Forman and Manor,” Councillor Josh Matlow said to loud applause during a Wednesday Oct. 28 community meeting.
Representatives on both sides had been in discussions since last June, and city council approved the purchase in May.
While financial terms have not been disclosed, the church will receive enough funds to pay for a top-to-bottom renovation of its 90-year-old sanctuary, including the addition of a new kitchen, new meeting rooms, new audio-visual equipment, a new lift, and new basement daycare facilities, among other upgrades.
Unfortunately the neighbouring Christian Education Building, which includes a gymnasium and Montessori school, and was built in the 1950s, will have to be demolished.
“We had to let go of the education building because it’s a large, aging structure, and was going to be needing some major repairs, both to the heating system and on the roof,” Reverend Debra Schneider explained to the Town Crier before the Oct. 28 meeting. “Replacing everything would have been a phenomenal cost for a relatively small congregation to try and manage.”
With renovations to the sanctuary, which has been equally in need of repairs, the church can continue serving as a gathering-place for community groups, Schneider said, and the congregation will no longer have to worry about paying for its maintenance.
For Manor Road United, the next step is for the proposed renovations to be approved at a Committee of Adjustment meeting on Wednesday November 4.
As for Davisville’s newest park, Matlow said that after the deal is signed another community meeting will be scheduled, most likely in the new year, to discuss what residents would like to see there.
“I’m really excited,” he told the meeting on Oct. 28. “What a wonderful thing to talk about — rather than another development, we’re going to have a conversation about how to design a new park in the heart of our neighbourhood.”
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