A special ceremony was held at Moir Park on Wednesday (Sept. 28) to commemorate the grand opening of the new perimeter trail.
The new paved section of trail is complete, marking the end of the first phase of the project. The new trail encircles the baseball diamonds and part of the soccer fields, connecting to the main parking lot. The paved trail makes the ball diamonds and soccer pitch more accessible to everyone.
Future phases will see the trail continue around the entire perimeter of the park and connect to the Rotary Trail and City of Cranbrook cycling networks. There will also be Ktunaxa interpretive signage along the way.
Members of the Rotary Club of Cranbrook and JCI Kootenay were at Wednesday’s event to thank the work of local sponsors and volunteers.
“When we actually came around to do the trail building we had about 40 volunteers show up with rakes and shovels, and we had about 15 pieces of equipment – mostly Bobcats and things like that,” explained Chuck Downie, President of the Rotary Club of Cranbrook. “The first phase was [removing sod] and laying all the gravel, and then the second phase was done about two weeks later when BA Blacktop came out and paved.”
Downie adds that he is also involved with the soccer association, who often use the fields at Moir Park.
“We did this for a few different reasons. More access for soccer and baseball facilities, and trying to improve the overall experience of Moir Park. I mean, this park is a gem,” he said. “Every time we have soccer tournaments here people are just raving about what a great facility it is. The more people we can get up here using it, the better. The walking path is more user-friendly for people with mobility challenges. And during soccer season – now the grandparents can come up here if they’re in walkers, parents can bring their kids up here in their strollers. It’s going to really improve that experience.”
Leanne Jensen, who was President of the Rotary Club of Cranbrook during their centennial, was also at Wednesday’s event. She explained that the project has been in the works for quite some time and said it’s great to see it come to fruition.
“Almost two years ago, Joe showed up at the New Dawn office and said – ‘Leanne, come for a walk with me. I want to show you Moir Park and I have an idea’,” Jensen said. “So I put on my coat and my winter boots and I walked around the park, through the centre of the park. Joe explained some of the history of the park and the legacy of other Rotary projects that we’ve done in the community – Rotary Park downtown, Idlewild trail and Idlewild Park, and Rotary Way which leads from park to park, the Rails to Trails, and also leads to Isadore Canyon trail. Cranbrook Rotary does outdoor spaces and trails really well.”
She explained that a group of Rotarians decided that the trail at Moir Park should be a project to celebrate their 100th birthday and centennial year.
She thanked all of the community partners that were involved, including McElhanney, the City of Cranbrook, BA Blacktop and Emco Waterworks.
Rotary and JCI Kootenay teamed up for the planning, fundraising and volunteering.
Mayor Lee Pratt was also present on Wednesday and thanked everyone involved for their work.
“This really completes Moir Park to what it needed,” said Pratt. “Idlewild, and Rotary’s participation there too, I mean it’s the jewel of the City too – everything that Rotary has been involved in. Rotary has always been there, always been really active, and the City really appreciates that. And now you have JCI working in conjunction and partnership and that’s great.”
He says it’s great to see so many volunteers working together for a common goal.
“Volunteerism is becoming a thing of the past. I can tell you that people [who] volunteer, they feel good about it. They feel way better than the people that do nothing and complain,” he said. “So I really appreciate the volunteerism that we do have in Cranbrook and encourage anyone who wants to get involved – please do.”
Representatives from McElhanney, BA Blacktop, Emco Waterworks and JCI Kootenay all made a short statement as well, thanking everyone involved. They said they look forward to the next phase of the project.
“Cranbrook is always a great town for volunteers, but it is truly amazing how much work you can get done in a couple of days with a bunch of volunteers and some really great partners,” Downie said. “We’re a great volunteer town and this is just another example of a great Rotary project and a great Cranbrook project.”