York Urbanist

An Idea Unleashed

September 6th, 2012

I engaged with the OnTrack board of directors last night at their public meeting in St. Thomas, Ontario to unleash to the public their idea for an elevated park on the elevated and abandonned trestle bridge in the city. This bold initiative will move forward once they have raised $250,000 by December 7, 2012. This is when the option to buy closes. The endeavour is more than a bridge reuse, more than a trail, but a community building project that has the potential to bring the city international acclaim.
Matt Janes, Ed Vandermaarel and Serge Lavoie made an eloquent presentation to well over 100 persons present. The show was further enhanced by an impassioned, if unexpected, plea by a sixteen year-old young lady who wants this project to work for the community. St. Thomas has a recent successful history for community projects that reinforce its title as the “Railway Capital of Canada” . This project to create a park on the Trestle Bridge will put St. Thomas on the map, not just a directional sign on Hwy 401.
Matt Janes sited Goderich and St. Mary’s as examples of community renovated bridge projects. But this project goes further, more in the vein of New York’s High Line, described by Ed Vandermaarel and in this article – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/opinion/a-high-line-thats-good-for-new-york.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1346943910-EboCyr96EV+8SVIsmLGOmA .

Watch my website and this website, http://www.ontrackstthomas.ca/ as they “Track” the progress of this soon to be international phenomenon and an example of excellence in urban design.


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