Evolution of a Downtown Public Park Enhances Shopping Experience

Evolution of a Downtown Public Park Enhances Shopping Experience

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Tilbury has a new Public Park located in the heart of downtown. Located at the corner of Queen & Prospect Street, the public park culminates several years of work by multiple community organizations. The Park is a combined green-area and public-parking area and enhances the downtown Tilbury shopping experience.

A community approach was taken for the project and was accomplished with the help of several public and private partnerships. In 2009 the Tilbury Business Improvement Area representing merchants in the downtown area began discussions to enhance land located in downtown Tilbury.

In April of 2010, the BIA approached the Municipality of Chatham-Kent with a proposal to acquire and upgrade the property located at 33 Queen Street North. Later that year, the land was purchased from Chuck Carrick Inc.  In its plan, the BIA proposed to convert the property from a vacant parcel of land to a parking area with future plans to develop the portion fronting on Queen Street into a small downtown public park.

The BIA began with physical improvements to the property through a grant from the municipal Community Partnership Fund. The grant enabled the BIA to purchase two benches, two flower pots, a holiday tree and decorative rocks.

Further improvements were made by the BIA and Community Futures Development Corporation in 2012 with the completion of a mural commemorating the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Town of Tilbury.

During the construction of the park, the above noted partners namely, Community Futures Development Corporation, Tilbury BIA, Municipality of Chatham-Kent and later,  the Tilbury & District Chamber of Commerce and Province of Ontario combined finances, resources and an energetic volunteer committee to form, the Tilbury Downtown Revitalization Project (TDRP).

In the early planning stages of the TDRP, the committee in consultation with the public, identified the downtown park as a priority project. The committee went to work on developing formal plans after consulting with residents and stakeholders in the community and later produced, a Conceptual Streetscape Design Plan. This plan included proposed changes to the downtown park.

Once the committee agreed on the plan, the TDRP began $40,000 worth of construction to the park starting in May, 2013.  Items identified in the conceptual design plan were under-way and integrates elements of a Carolinian Forest theme, identified as a priority by the community during the consultation stages of the design plan. The construction of the gazebo, placement of the flagpole, purchase of additional flower planters and professional landscape work began to shape the ambiance of Queen Street and are a reflection of the Carolinian theme. The park offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of downtown and community.

In addition to the funding acquired through the Tilbury Downtown Revitalization Project, the site received a $2,000 community improvement grant for landscape work from the, Union Gas Helping Hands in Action program. The Tilbury and District Horticultural Society has been instrumental in planning, planting and maintaining the gardens. The Horticultural Society generously donated the large bubbling rock in the park, an attractive visual and ambient water feature that further enhances the oasis.

Earlier this summer the TDRP held a contest to name the public park in downtown Tilbury with 99 entries collected and in consultation with the TDRP, BIA, Chamber of Commerce, members of the Carrick family and Chatham-Kent Council, an official name was selected.

The members of the organizations represented here today are very pleased to announce the official name of the new public park in downtown Tilbury, “Carrick’s Corner”. The name commemorates the late Mr. Chuck Carrick, a long-time resident of Tilbury. Mr. Carrick contributed to the community in many ways as an established businessman and served as the town’s Mayor for almost two decades.

The Tilbury Downtown Revitalization Project gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Tilbury BIA, Tilbury & District Chamber of Commerce, Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Community Futures Development Corporation of Chatham-Kent, the Provincial Ministries of Rural Affairs and Agriculture & Food, the Tilbury & District Horticultural Society and Union Gas.