It was a perfect afternoon Sunday for a picnic in the park – or in this case a picnic ON the park. The MCR Railway Bridge was the venue for the First Annual Elevated Picnic. While the present site may lack the finesse of a world-class park, it wasn’t difficult from that elevated vantage, enjoying a tasty picnic and good company, to envision one.
With the tracks gone, the bridge deck is a massive space – 30 feet wide, 1000 feet long – situated 90 feet over the Kettle Creek Valley. On Track envisions many possibilities – “a park with flower beds, trees, benches, public art and a trail for walking, running and biking. A great place to wander, sit, walk the dog. How about wedding photos and grad photos? A unique venue for art shows or busker festivals.”
It’s a big dream – but not “pie in the sky” as demonstrated by the picnic and other recent signs that the project is gaining momentum.
Early in August On Track announced the awarding of the contract for the St. Thomas Elevated Park Management Master Plan. It will be completed later this year and will be presented to the community at a special town hall meeting.
On August 10th, St. Thomas City Council approved a recommendation to designate the bridge under the Ontario Heritage Act. This would mean that the MCR Bridge would join the city’s other protected heritage assets – the CASO Station, the MCR Rail Shops and the BX Tower.
The picnic was intended to offer a sneak peak of the site, and to raise community interest and excitement and hopefully a small amount of money for the project. The sold-out event on a fair-weather afternoon did all of that. It also generated lots of positive vibes. That positivity is sure to build with the presentation to the public of the master plan which will lay out the steps necessary to undertake the conversion to Canada’s first Elevated Park.
Follow the Elevated Park news on Facebook – St. Thomas Elevated Park and learn more about the project at http://www.elevatedpark.ca/.