It was a day of celebration at St. Peter’s Elementary School in Upper Island Cove when St. Peter’s Public Park was officially opened Oct. 11.
School principal John Drover said the park project was a collaborative partnership from the start. He credits support from the Town of Upper Island Cove, fundraising efforts, corporate sponsorship and in-kind donations from the school community and Conception Bay North area.
A playground in the 1960s once occupied the exact location of the new space. By the late 1980s there was just a small ballfield and the remnants of a playground.
Eventually, the small ballfield gave way to alder bushes leaving younger residents of Upper Island Cove and students of St. Peter’s Elementary without a playground to enjoy.
The community and school rallied, first with meetings a few years ago, to bring a playground back.
About five years ago the town council offered an option.
It would revitalize the property but it would be the school’s responsibility to raise the money to furnish the playground.
It was a proposal they could not reject, says principal Drover.
The province kick started the fundraising effort with a $10,000 grant through Healthy Active Living.
Hickman Automotive Group added to the momentum by challenging the school to raise $25,000 with a promise to match the amount if the school reached its goal. Drover says this goal was met, thanks to community support.
St. Peter’s also signed up for an Aviva contest last fall and, again with the help of local communities, raised another $10,000 for a grand total of $73,000.
Drover says the support from the school community and the Conception Bay North area was unbelievable.
“We want to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of you, because without you, this project would not be possible,” he said.
“Whether you were sitting at meetings, selling tickets, preparing/selling cold plates, performing in concerts, delivering letters, asking for support, donating food, spreading pea stone, lifting equipment, landscaping the area, digging holes, welding equipment, donating park benches, tables, thank you all. We are so very grateful."
Special guests during the park's official opening included members of the fire department, local churches and town council, as well as MHA Pam Parsons and representatives from the Hickman Automotive Group.