Willistead Park ‘Ring Road’: Manor Chair Responds To Residents’ Concerns

Friday November 1st, 2013

Posted at 8:40pm


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Work on Willistead’s new path is pictured on Friday October 11th

Concerns from Walkerville residents over what has been described as Willistead Park’s proposed asphalt ‘ring road’ have been responded to in a letter by the Willistead Manor Board of Directors.

Chair Stephen Marshall wrote the following letter to the residents of Walkerville:

Dear Members of the Public,

My name is Stephen Marshall and I am the Chair of the Board of Willistead Manor. The Board appreciates the passion with which members of the public have approached the current sidewalk and sewer upgrades. The goal of this letter is to assure the public that
the work being done at Willistead is not an attempt to ‘pave paradise and put up a parking lot’ but to enhance the park and the heritage site.

Willistead Park has been flooding for years. Prior to the decision to renovate, the Board received frequent letters about the condition of the sidewalks and accumulation of mud in wet weather. Four years ago, for the first time in 100 years, the manor flooded causing considerable damage. We turned to the city’s landscape architect, Mike Clement, to design the new sidewalk proposal and to Public Works for design of the new sewer and drainage system. The design was reviewed by the Heritage Committee, Planning and Parks Departments; the City’s Heritage Planner John Calhoon and was subsequently approved by council.

To better inform the public while still in the planning stages, the Board held two very well attended open houses for the purpose of review of the restoration work. Both open houses were met with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Subsequent to those open houses, I have talked with the media several times about the upcoming work and six months ago we posted the plan on renovation notice boards placed in Willistead Park.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend a ‘Rally to save Willistead’ was organized over Facebook. John Micelli, from the City of Windsor Parks Department explained the Board’s plan to the Rally’s 12 attendees. By the end of the presentation 10 of the 12 people gathered expressed that they now believed that the renovations would be positive and beneficial. Following the Rally, Councilor Alan Halberstadt agreed to stop construction in the Park in order to have the time to hold another public meeting on November 06th at 7:30 pm.

The work that is continuing today looks terrible but will ensure that rainwater will drain away and not cause damage to the Park or building. The sidewalks are not designed ‘just for Art in the Park’ but for everyday enjoyment with thought given to the view of the manor and historic neighbourhood.

The Board of Directors continues to work on the restoration of Willistead with a goal of maintaining this Jewel of Windsor in perfect historic condition. Thank you for your continued support.

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