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The Choice Trump-eting hopes for Idlewild Park

Local business engaging youth to get their ideas on the redevelopment of Idlewild Park.
The Choice is using Facebook to engage with Cranbrook's youth to get ideas on the redevelopment of Idlewild Park.

The City of Cranbrook has been asking for public feedback on how to develop Idlewild Park and has gone through the traditional means of holding public houses and surveys.

That process has produced a lot of commentary from, shall we say, those have been around a lot longer than some of those who are younger.

Communication among youth in the millennial generation of today's world revolves around social media. With that in mind, team behind The Choice has stepped up to help start a conversation on Idlewild Park through a Facebook page.

In the tongue-and-cheek spirit of mocking the shenanigans going on in the U.S. election, the Facebook Page is titled, 'Make Idlewild Great Again.'

The idea to create the page came out of a Downtown Business Association meeting a week ago, with city councillor Ron Popoff nudging the staff at The Choice to do something to engage Cranbrook's youth and their ideas on what to do with the park.

"He was the one talking about how at the open house, there's a lot of senior citizens there giving their point of view, but none of the younger demographic," said Mike Peabody, one of the owners of The Choice.

Thus, Make Idlewild Great Again was born.

Idlewild Park has undergone some change over the last year, as the lake level was drawn down last summer to relieve pressure on a dam structure that had the potential to fail and flood downstream.

The lake has withdrawn from shore, exposing natural habitat for Western Painted Turtles and migratory birds. The city has been working with biologists and going through processes with provincial and federal regulatory bodies to relocate turtles to nearby suitable habitat.

While the lake has been drawn down, work on the new dam is expected to be up and running by August, and city council has been looking at redeveloping the park as well.

A quick scroll through the Facebook page reveals some really good ideas that range from kids playground areas to building a natural amphitheatre to having a 'tough mudder' style jogging track.

"There's been a lot of really good ideas, and even stuff we didn't think about," said Peabody. "I've got kids and I'd love a playground, but having a nature-themed playground would be super sweet. That seems to be the most trending topic on there."

Other ideas submitted on the Facebook page include installing new fishing docks on Idlewild Lake that would make it easier for kids to fish, creating a beach and swimming area, a redesigned stage area for outdoor concerts and even a snowboard/ski terrain park for the winter.

To date, no one has suggested building any walls, though.

To add your voice to the conversation, click here.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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