Learning lessons in community decision making Norwood Grade 3 students participate in Norwood Square Park project

Two Norwood School Grade 3 classes worked with Rocky Pilisko, one of the city’s community recreation coordinators, in a project aimed at redeveloping Norwood Square Park. The students shared what they learned about the decision-making process used to make changes within a community park.  

First, the students walked to the park and evaluated possible improvements or changes. Lucas and Riyadh said, “I picked three ideas on how to change the park.” Charlie explained, “We looked around the park and saw some things that needed replacing, fixing, and adding. I noticed that we need little ramps for the kids and parents in wheelchairs.”

Through the process we found out these are part of the approved concept design. Dakota said he’d like to see a garden added. Aisha noted, “We were not allowed to pick the playground equipment.” The new design does not include playground equipment, but is focused on the remaining space around it.

On April 27, the students had a visitor. “Rocky came to room 7, Grade 3 and talked about changing the park,” said Jakob. Pilisko explained how the project started and its journey up until this point. “In the community, we settle things with a committee. Also, a survey is another way of solving problems,” said Chidinma. Sky, Terek, and Cashis know a committee has to agree on an idea.

After the initial ideas were gathered, the committee needed community input. Anneliese explained, “They made a plan. Then they made a map and sent a survey to the neighbourhood. After all that, they found out they did not like it at all, so they made another plan and it worked!” Tram and Jason remembered the survey had options such as keeping or removing fences and trees. After considering the feedback given by community members, the committee adapted their proposed plan.

“Rocky came with a map of the old project and gave us a new one on paper of the new project,” said Andrew. Pilisko and the class discussed the changes. After that, the students participated in a mock survey, which evaluated whether or not the fence should be removed. The class voted no.

Looking at the final map of the proposed Norwood Square Park, Joey was excited. He said, “There will be brand new basketball nets!” Ava was disappointed there wasn’t going to be any washrooms or a spray park since each neighbourhood is only allowed one spray park and Alberta Avenue already has one, although it needs redeveloping. Sahar and Chloe were happy their original ideas on park improvements were considered.

The students enjoyed their time with Pilisko and the project. They are proud members of Norwood and surrounding communities. The Grade 3 class is grateful to Alberta Avenue and the city for involving them in community development projects.

Email rocky.pilisko@edmonton.ca for information about the approved concept plan, the project’s next steps, or to help with Alberta Avenue spray park redevelopment.

Header Image: A Grade 3 class at Norwood School worked with the city to learn about decision making. Credit: Sarah Wiatr

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