The John Rebecca park has been approved

After nearly a decade of waiting, the John Rebecca Park Project is ready to go.

Councillor Jason Farr announced the green-lit plan on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

Over the last two years, residents of the Beasley neighbourhood have advocated for more green space and for the expropriation of Club Seventy Seven.

In the last few years, the club and its nearby areas have been known as spots for violent crime. Some Hamilton citizens feel as though the removal of Club Seventy Seven and the addition of a park will create a greener, more inviting neighbourhood.

City plans for a park in the Beasley neighbourhood have existed since 2010. Action on the park plans has been halted for various reasons over the years. Most recently, reasons have included reluctance to sacrifice municipal parking spots for the project, as well as recycling funds into other projects ahead of the 2015 Pan Am Games.

In 2017, Hamilton had its first taste of what it would be like to have the John Rebecca Park. Taking up only 20 parking spaces at the John & Rebecca street parking lot, Hamilton opened its first pop-up park. Astroturf, a bike track, benches, and an accessible ramp were placed temporarily to resemble, and be used like, an actual park.

The pop up park was used as an opportunity to collect feedback from the Beasley neighbourhood, as well as to try different ideas.

Although it was pleasant to have a temporary park, it didn’t fix the problem at hand; the land that Club Seventy Seven sits on is already parkland zoned, and there is no real park.

Thankfully Spring 2018 has brought changes. Residents of the Beasley neighbourhood can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their park is on its way.

The funds for the Rebecca Park Project have been secured, thanks to the Patrick J. McNally foundation. Not much information on the project’s timeline is available yet, but there will be a public input meeting taking place on May 29th.

What do you think about a new green space in the downtown core? Have you been waiting for the John Rebecca Park? Let us know in the comments.

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