By Greg Price
An idea that was years in the making will be recognized at the upcoming Taber and District Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Awards Night on Jan. 16.
The Taber Spray Park Committee will be given the Spirit of Taber Award on that night as the vision of a spray park for families to enjoy finally came to fruition this past summer, situated at Confederation Park, near the skateboard park.
“This was an idea that was around a few years ago and then it got going again. There was a big push this year,” said Jack Brewin, town councillor and one for the members of the Taber Spray Park Committee. “When I was running for council, a lot of people were coming up to me saying there was very little to do here for whole families and it was making people go elsewhere for their family time in the summer. This keeps young people in town and gives them something to do.”
There was a vision by the committee to locate the spray park in Confederation Park to make it a hub of activity for families with the nearby skateboard park, tennis courts, walking paths, ball diamonds and green spaces for people to have picnics, where a bathroom facility was also put in.
With the accelerated timeline to have the spray park completed by the summer of 2014, Brewin was amazed at how fast the project came together, thanks to the support of the community who believed in the project.
“I don’t know if there has been another project in town that people have gotten behind like this. In three months, to get a half million dollars raised in in-kind and cash donations is amazing. We could not have done it without the support of the town and the M.D. of Taber,” said Brewin.
Anyone who drove by the work site as the spray park was being constructed on any given day would see the type of sweat equity that was being invested, the majority of it free of charge as committee members were able to keep costs down thanks to a supportive community.
“There were many hands doing the work. There was well over 800 wheelbarrows of cement just for the pad. We’d have upwards of 30 people on the site, sometimes more on a given day,” said Brewin.
“While people were working, we’d have people coming to give them water or pop. People did what they could to help.”
The spray park did not open as early as the committee hoped for thanks to Mother Nature not co-operating with constant rain. Hopes were to have it officially open by Cornfest, but weather conspired against the committee.
“We were probably a month behind. It was disappointing we weren’t open for Cornfest. We were open, but the weather was detrimental,” said Brewin.
Nevertheless, Brewin remembered vividly the day committee members were testing the Taber Spray Park. A young family pulled up with their younger kids with their swim suits on, watching the committee.
“They wanted to go out so bad. They were sitting in the Parkside Manor parking lot and I was watching these children and I walked over to the fence and asked them if they wanted to try it out, saying they would be the first,” said Brewin.
“Their faces lit up, it was amazing. It makes you so happy to see the kids having fun out there. It’s a real draw for the community.”
Brewin added it’s an honour for the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce to recognize the committee for its work with the project as nominations were taken for the Spirit of Taber, but that it’s an award for the whole town and M.D. of Taber.
“There was some good corporate donations with companies pulling through with in-kind donations. But there were a lot of small donations that weren’t recognized as much as corporate donations,” said Brewin. “Every dollar counted. It didn’t matter if it was $5 or $5,000 you donated. I think it shows how strong of a community we have, when we find a need or a cause for something. People are there to step up and help out. Taber is amazing that way, I’ve talked to other people in different communities and they can’t believe how we did this, this quickly.”