City of Kitchener officially opens RBJ Schlegel Park
KITCHENER – A new community gathering place for recreation and social connection is open to the public. The City of Kitchener is thrilled to welcome the community to RBJ Schlegel Park, the site formerly known as South Kitchener District Park, at 1664 Huron Road.
This 42-acre parkland features diverse park amenities and green infrastructure to support the recreational needs and well-being of Kitchener residents. Completion of phase one features include one of the City’s largest playgrounds and artificial turf fields that are now open. Additional amenities including the splash pad, natural turf field, and cricket pitch will open in 2021.
This is an exciting time for our community. RBJ Schlegel Park is truly a one-of-a-kind park that visitors of all ages are sure to enjoy,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “Parks have always been an important part of the fabric of our city and never has that been more important than during the current COVID-19 pandemic where they help provide vibrant and healthy outdoor spaces for residents of all ages. Not only do they provide places for recreation and leisure, but they serve as community gathering places, restore ecosystems, and achieve environmental objectives like stormwater management, promote a larger urban tree canopy and help combat climate change.”
“RBJ Schlegel Park is designed to meet the needs of our growing community for many years to come. I’ve patiently waited for today and am thrilled to now see phase one complete and the park open for the community to enjoy,” said Ward 5 Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock. “It took perseverance, teamwork, and the right people to see this park come to life. Council has been very supportive of making this project happen, and we couldn’t have done it without the help of the Schlegel family.”
The 2.3-million-dollar contribution from RBJ Schlegel, a local company involved in seniors care and urban development, is the largest sponsorship agreement in the city’s history. It was made possible through the City of Kitchener’s Municipal Partnership Program, an initiative that offers customized sponsorship and strategic partnership opportunities for businesses and brands.
“Our three-generation family business has been focused on building healthy, age friendly communities since the 1940’s,” said Chief Executive Officer James Schlegel. “We are honoured to contribute to such an important recreational amenity which will be heavily used by the young, active families in this part of the city and will contribute to building a strong community which is so important to the health of our society and country.”
The playground provides two age zones, a sand play area, and includes sensory play structures for children of all ages. For younger children, life-sized bugs, a scavenger hunt, and colourful structures are featured on a bouncy rubber surface. Older children will enjoy the larger structure with diverse activities that will challenge them to climb, crawl, or slide.
The splash pad is a spacious area that features more than a dozen spray features including a big splash bucket, and formal seating for parents to supervise their children without getting wet.
Two artificial turf fields are equipped with player benches and bleachers and will be lit for recreational activity at night.
The cricket pitch and natural turf field will be available next year.
An important investment of $750,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program funded by the Government of Canada allowed staff to implement sustainable, green infrastructure. The park is designed to contain all stormwater on-site, featuring 9,000 square metres of rain gardens, infiltration galleries, and bioswales that will save millions of litres of water during the lifetime of the park.
“The rehabilitation of this park is great news for the community, as it provides a place for residents and families to connect and stay active,” said Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga, on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The implementation of sustainable, green infrastructure in this park will help improve resilience to climate change, while making our community healthier. Investments in innovative green solutions like these create healthier communities today and for generations to come.”
“Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change. That means local action is critical,” said FCM President Bill Karsten. “Municipalities, like Kitchener, are modeling local green solutions that can be replicated and scaled up across the country for deep national impact. This is what today’s announcement is all about – orders of government working together to build better lives for Canadians.”
The park’s state of the art amenities will not only serve the needs of the broader community but also for local sports clubs.
“RBJ Schlegel Park will position the city and our local sports community to attract major sport events,” said Vrbanovic. “We’ve heard from sports clubs who want facilities and amenities that not only meet their needs but can bring marquee events to our city.”
“This is only a taste of what’s to come,” said Galloway-Sealock. “I’m excited to see what the future will bring. When fully built, RBJ Schlegel Park will offer a wide variety of high-quality amenities in a campus-like setting. All community members will find something to do here, and I’m excited for the connections and memories that are going to be made.”