Let’s take care of the existing issues at Fort Edmonton Park — and then take it to a new level.
Edmonton Sun reporter Allison Saltz has been writing about Fort Edmonton for the last few days.
The news story revolves around a $150 million renovation project for the Fort. It’s in need of repairs to the existing site. And there’s also a great opportunity to expand the park for the grand re-opening when Canadians celebrate our 150th birthday in 2017.
We have to seize the chance.
Because Fort Edmonton Park is one of the real jewels of the city on a summer day. If you’ve ever been there you’ll know how special it is.
Nestled under the Quesnell Bridge on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River, Fort Edmonton Park takes us back in time in so many entertaining ways: the 1920’s midway, the Hotel Selkirk, staff members dressed in costume and telling stories, street cars, and of course, the steam train.
Those attractions are good enough for the price of admission. But perhaps the Fort’s celebration of how life was lived in the early 1900’s is the biggest ticket.
We can learn so much from that.
The key — and a crucial key — is to never, ever let that be forgotten.
It could be easy to do. We live in a world of fast everything, with information a mouse click or swipe away.
We could sit back and look at websites filled with videos of how our pioneers persevered.
But that takes away the precious experience of seeing how things were done first-hand.
If Fort Edmonton Park doesn’t get the upgrades it needs and a chance to grow, it could very well end up as an on-line attraction.
That would be a very sad statement, indeed.
Certainly, monetary concessions come into play. Federal and provincial money will make up a good majority of the $150 million price tag.
But not all of it.
One suggestion in Alison’s story says Edmonton taxpayers could be responsible for $42 million of the entire cost, plus another $10 million for new facilities.
From where I sit this would be money well spent.
City council tabled a report earlier this week which will go into budget planning this fall.
The city should support this, absolutely.
Fort Edmonton is one of our city’s greatest attributes. It’s a huge success.
We need to further celebrate Fort Edmonton Park for our children and grandchildren.