Riversdale Community Association plans event to save Optimist Park from possible school construction
SASKATOON -- The Riversdale Community Association has invited Mayor Charlie Clark, city councillors and Saskatoon-Riversdale MLA to an event at Optimist Park this weekend.
This comes as Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) is considering the site for a new amalgamated school. A decision could come May 11 at the board’s meeting.
President Sam Mark hopes people from across the city come out to see the beauty the park has to offer as one of the only green spaces in the community.
The event will feature a COVID-safe, physically distanced tour of the park, according to Mark.
He says there will be details on the history of the park and the significance of the decades old trees on the site.
He hopes as many people as possible come out to the afternoon event in the hopes of spreading the word that putting the school on the site is not a good idea.
“It does affect a lot of people and once the school is here because it’s no longer a part. People won’t take it as a park they’re going to take it as a school ground,” Mark told CTV News.
The other site under consideration is the Princess Alexandra Community School lot on Avenue H.
School division representatives fielded questions from 46 community members about the project at an online community engagement meeting last Thursday, SPS said in an email.
The City Centre School project will amalgamate three core area schools, Princess Alexandra, King George and Pleasant Hill and combine them into a $29 million building.
Optimist Park was viewed as the most central of all locations suggested since the project was announced.
The city would have to approve the plan to build on the park land and arrange for a land swap agreement where the city could convert the Princess Alexandra School site.
The board told CTV News in an email that if the site selection is not able to be on the agenda at the May 11 board meeting then it will be pushed to June 1.
Saskatoon-Rivesdale MLA Marv Friesen says the two sites are the best options and he stands by the choices made by the school division.
“This is a all a big if, because this is not a confirmed location, but if this should happen, there may be a green space trade off to increase the green space somewhere else,” Friesen told CTV News.
While Friesen commends members of his constituency for their efforts and commitment to the new school discussion and he hopes everyone can move on.
“I would love the focus at some point here to get shifted to the excitement of this new school and how to bring the cultural diversity of these communities together,” Friesen said.
He says he will advocate for in the future of King George School - his siblings attended and he wants to ensure it’s used properly for the community.