After many years of being an industrial site, the Dale Hodges Park, formerly the East Bowmont Park, is officially open to the public.
The land was owned by Klippert Concrete until 2010, when the city acquired it and set out to restore the area’s ecological integrity while improving the underground storm drain system.
Tristan Surtees was the lead artist on this project and said the area is a 3-in-1 deal. It combines public art, a public park and treats water. The gates were taken down this week and the public was finally able to walk through the park.
“One of the wonderful things about this has been opening it up to the public,” Surtees said.
Calgary park goers were already out enjoying the newly-opened area.
“I just love that sound myself,” said one park goer, Lise Manzer, about the trickling water.
How it works
The former gravel pit had underground storm drains from eight communities, which equals nearly 1,800 hectares. The water used to run straight into the Bow River.
Now, the water is slowed down by various elements. The first step is a pond that swirls the water before dropping it down a halo drain. This slows down the water, allowing the sediments to drop off.
From there, the water travels through the park moving through cells, or rather, stopping at various river banks. Each one of these serves to polish the water before it enters the river.
Finally the water enters the river, much cleaner than it started.
Calgary park’s namesake
The park is named after Dale Hodges, a former city councillor for the area. He served the city for 30 years, from 1983-2013.
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi gave a speech to open the Calgary park. He spoke about how helpful Hodges was to him when he was first elected Mayor and the legacy he leaves in council.
“There are very few public servants whose legacy will grow every spring. Dale’s will,” said Nenshi.
The park spans 40 hectares and has five kilometers of trails for Calgarians to enjoy. The budget for the project was $26.8 million.