Moonlight Beach is slated for a significant overhaul this year, with United Way Centraide Northeastern Ontario pledging $150,000 toward the effort.
Central to the overhaul will be a new playground amenity, which will be renamed by United Way during a ceremony in celebration of their 40th anniversary this year.
“It’s been well-used, and hopefully as things open up more we’ll see more young people and families going out to play,” United Way Centraide Northeastern Ontario executive director Mary Lou Hussak told Sudbury.com.
“The focus really is to get into the areas where there’s low income or kids can’t access the playgrounds, or playgrounds aren’t up to date,” she said, adding that Moonlight Beach is a popular place for people to jump on a bus and spend the day with their families.
“It’s so important for helping our kids and citizens of all ages,” she said, adding that social isolation of all ages has been significant throughout the pandemic, which has affected people’s mental health.
This, she said, will help provide a “safe, structured place for kids to go and play and be with each other.”
In addition to their $150,000 pledge toward Moonlight Beach, the organization is contributing $50,000 both this year and next toward other playground sites as part of the city’s playground revitalization initiative.
Started in 2018, the effort has seen 26 playgrounds in poor condition being renewed in two phases. The third phase is expected to kick off this year and knock another 14 playgrounds off the program’s total list of 56 playgrounds in need of work, which will leave 10 to be tackled in the fourth phase.
FedNor has pledged $495,000 in federal funding toward the revitalization of eight playground sites as part of phase two contingent on the city pledging $165,000, which the city’s community services committee recently agreed to funding through reserves and capital funds.
The eight playgrounds slated for revitalization through this funding include:
- Gil Loop Playground (Ward 3)
- St. Charles Park (Ward 1)
- Shawn Tot Lot (Ward 4)
- Simon Lake Playground (Ward 2)
- Grandview Playground (Ward 5)
- Brighton Tot Lot (Ward 7)
- Rosemarie Playground (Ward 8)
- Lebel (Ward 8)
The city has also applied for $500,000 in funding through the provincially funded Ontario Trillium Foundation Community Building Fund, which would be topped up by $100,000 through city reserves. Affected playgrounds, should the funding be approved, would be:
- Don Lita Playground (Ward 8)
- Daniel Tot Lot (Ward 5)
- VLA Playground (Ward 2)
- Onaping Tot Lot (Ward 3)
- Central Lane (Ward 7)
“This is an election year, there might be an opportunity in the coming months for more money,” Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland said during a recent community services meeting, with Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini suggesting that additional investment from private corporations might also contribute to the program.
Once the third phase is completed, the fourth phase of the city’s playground revitalization program is projected to include:
- Black Lake (Ward 2)
- Penage Road Community Centre (Ward 2)
- Den Lou Playground (Ward 2)
- Centennial Park (Ward 2)
- Whitefish Playground (Ward 2)
- Pine and Fir (Ward 3)
- Pine Street (Ward 7)
- Thomas Tot Lot (Ward 7)
- Parkinson Tot Lot (Ward 7)
- Mountainview Playground (Ward 9)
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.