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Rotarians layout plans for garden/playground at Centennial

Henry Kulik

It will be late September or possibly beyond before a therapeutic healing garden and a revamped playground will be installed at Sarnia’s Centennial Park.

That information came from Henry Kulik of the Sarnia Bluewaterland Rotary Club. The Club has committed $150,000.00 for the two projects but neither will be started until pollution abatement and remediation are completed and Kulik says, “That won’t begin until July”.

He also noted costs at Centennial “have gone over budget”.

Work at the park has been proceeding slowly as criticism mounts about cost overruns and the amount of remediation being done. However, Kulik says the Rotary Club is proceeding with development of its portions while City staff sort out the details.

The therapeutic healing garden is being designed for Alzheimer patients and Kulik says it will “provide an accessible experience for all users to stimulate a variety of senses”.

The proposed design includes three raised planting beds for users with mobility issues that require wheelchairs and scooters. The objective says Kulik is to allow “physical interaction” so users can participate in community planting programs.

The overall layout is intended to coincide with the adjacent Sarnia Bay and St. Clair River by incorporating “waves” of planting and pedestrian flow throughout the garden. Tall ornamental grasses have been included in the design to “mimic” adjacent waves says Kulik.

Kulik told the Rotarians “heights, colours, textures and bloom times will co – ordinate to maximize seasonal interest”.

The therapeutic healing garden is a milestone for the Rotary Club, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

The adjacent playground is being rebuilt to replace the playground that was disassembled during environmental clean up last year.

The proposed garden and playground will be presented to City Council at a public meeting June 24.

Modifications and clean up of the park are estimated at $8 million. The former Dow People Place is being rebuilt with a stage and washrooms.

City officials hope to reopen the much-delayed project this fall.

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