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Jack Long Park

"Break out the Champagne -A Celebration is in order"...The Jack Long Park is going ahead with redevelopment! 

For all of those wondering what happened to the park planning that began a decade ago, we finally have enough funds to proceed with exciting plans the community has endorsed more then once and has been awaiting funding for several years now. 

We owe a big thanks to our (Alexandra Centre Society) Board Member, Barbara Beard, for spear heading the committee that saw this project though.  Thank you Barbara! Your hard work is and has been very much appreciated! Also, a big thanks to Councillor Gina Carlo Carra for his role in continuing to push for park funding.  He has been a constant supporter of the park and has been instrumental in finding city funds to allow us to proceed.  Thanks GC for not giving up on our park.

 

Location:

For anyone unfamiliar with this park, the "Jack Long Park" is located on the same property as the Alexandra Centre, just steps away from Deane House at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.  The parks 9th Avenue location is the busiest main street in our community and is Calgary's original main street, established in 1875.  9th Avenue has recently been rebranded "Music Mile" because of its reputation for numerous music venues and because of its close proximity to the new National Music Centre.  The park will connect 9th Avenue to the walking bridge from East Village, future home to 10,000 new residents once completed.

 

Design:

To take advantage of the parks 9th Avenue location, an entry court on the 9th Avenue side of the park will provide a wide area designed to house street activity such as artisan kiosks, food truck servicing, or fresh vegetable markets.  This area will have new trees, benches, bike racks and will become a space for activities complementary to 9th Avenue commercial retail activities and to take advantage of its high profile location. 

The central area is designed as a festival space with circular grass area for performances such as theater, music, or outdoor art events.  This area will be complemented with an outdoor meeting place for community gatherings with picnic tables and a family style harvest table area incorporated into the design.  A section on the northeast corner has blueberry bushes and fruit trees which was one of the requests from the children during their design workshop.

The 8th Avenue side of the park will remain an active play area with a playground and seating berm located on the west side.  This area will be used for informal play activities such as badminton, Frisbee, volleyball, or casual soccer.

 

Who is Jack Long:

By now you are most likely familiar with the Famous "Jack Long".  The park is named after Jack Long who is a legendary figure in the development of our community of Inglewood. 

Jack Long- a former alderman and nationally respected architect, planner, and community activist who profoundly impacted the nature of Calgary communities.  He is a local folk hero for his tireless efforts to save Inglewood from city plans to construct a freeway through its heart.  Famous for coining the term "Every Man the Planner", Jack's spirit lives on through the Inglewood Design Initiative, previous ARP, and Inglewood Brief.  Above all else Jack was a staunch believer in "community" throughout Calgary.  It is fitting that the Jack Long Park be a place to celebrate and enjoy community life.

It is a fitting commemoration to Jack Long that his daughter, Margo Long, is the landscape architect who has helped design the upgrades to this park and is able to continue his legacy of community building through her efforts on this project.  Thank you Margo!

 

Park History:

2005:  The Inglewood community came together to determine what to do with the empty park space located next to the Alexandra Centre at 922 - 9 Avenue SE.  The Alexandra Centre Society conducted a number of consultations with the community including a planning session with local school children.  Based on the opinions and values that were submitted, a set of conceptual plans were developed by Margo Long.  Margo, Jack Long's daughter, is a well known landscape architect with PWL Partnership in Vancouver.

July 2006:  The site was dedicated to the memory of Jack Long.  The parks official name is "Jack Long Park".

2014:  A newly formed park committee (through the Alexandra Centre Society) took on the task of completing the project.  Margo Long once again agreed to assist with the concept plans and created a second version of park concept plans presented and endorsed by the community in 2014.

2017:  Funding is complete.  Margo Long is working with the city to finalize working drawings for the park.

October 2018:  Redevelopment begins.  The park is expected to be open during the summer of 2019.  The area will be closed to the public until the project is complete.

 May 2019:  During the excavation period several historical artifacts were discovered.  This has resulted in the need for a historical resources impact assessment (HRIA) of the artifacts as required by the Provincial government.  This exciting and unforeseen discovery, along with additional stone work required on the Alexandra Centre has caused some delay to the overall construction schedule. 

September 2019: There are some modification to the Jack Long Park construction schedule.  Work is now slated to be completed by the summer of 2020.

 

 Archeological Finds:

Situated in one of the oldest areas of Calgary, the Jack Long Park development has uncovered artifacts and features associated with both a precontact First Nations occupation and historic items from Calgary's early days.  As required by law, a Historic Resource Impact Assessment (HRIA) is underway and has included back hoe testing and ground penetrating radar assessment.  Limited test excavation will be taking place.  The precontact occupation included fire cracked rock, bones, and possible tipi rings.  Of historic nature we have found cellar features, ceramic pieces, tin, glass, and even a had forged nail!  The work will help build a picture of the human activities that have taken place within the area over the last 1000 years, before development into a Park for future generations.

 

 

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