Mattawa’s council has a maximum budget of $30,000 set aside to improve Annie’s Park and work is underway to build a fence, install a gazebo, and add some tables. The town has also been trying to attract a food vendor to call the park home this summer but have had little luck so far.
The park is downtown, tucked between the J & R Coin Laundromat and Scott’s Discount Store on 328 Main Street. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, and the town wants to fully reveal it, especially during the summer months, and the improvements will help.
Some trees have already been removed to accommodate a new fence, which will run along the side near the laundromat. The plan is to make it 166 feet long, the entire depth of the lot. The town also intends to add lighting to the park.
Another important feature on tap is a new bathroom on the site. “No public washrooms” exist downtown, explained the town’s chief administrative officer, Francine Desormeau, “and we’ve heard that loud and clear” from residents that having one would be much appreciated.
This year, a temporary solution will be implemented—yes, that means a porta-potty. However, a more permanent washroom is planned for the future, Desormeau said. She also mentioned that a small gazebo has already been ordered and should arrive soon.
The park is about 45 feet across, and “has always been a sitting park” for the downtown stroller. The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Society used to own it, but “about ten years ago” the society transferred ownership to the municipality.
Improving the park is meant “to support the downtown” and make the area that much more attractive to locals and tourists alike. “We have a lot of tourists” come through, Desormeau said, “and it’s a beautiful downtown green-space” that the town plans to show off to full effect.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca