SYDNEY, NS – After declining use and facilities crumbling for years, the initiative to revitalize Wentworth Park in Sydney began in 2004. As this work continues to progress, this park will once again be worthy of being called Sydney’s signature urban park.
Beginning in 2004, coinciding with the King’s Road realignment and the start of construction on “The Wentworth” condominiums, renovations on the lower pond of Wentworth Park began. The renovations included an improved, more natural looking retaining wall along the pond’s shore, improved pathways, monument restorations, a new elevated gazebo overlooking this section of the park, new fountains, and a new pedestrian underpass under King’s Road as part of a larger plan to connect the park to the Sydney Boardwalk on one side and Rotary Park on the other. This is also part of the larger Active Transportation plan for Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), parts of which will be further explored in future articles.
After a couple of years of inactivity following the completion of the lower pond renovations, Phase two began in 2009 which consisted of several renovations to the upper pond of the park. These upper pond renovations included, once again, improved and more natural looking retaining wall shoreline along the pond, a new playground, improved pathways, a new pedestrian crossing of the upper pond, and restoration of the park’s band shell which has been an important landmark in the area for generations. The culverts which Wentworth Creek flows through were also upgraded in this phase. This upper pond section will be eventually connected to Rotary Park through the Active Transportation plan.
The band shell restoration will also serve to bring entertainment back to the park, a location which, in the past, hosted local concerts, small festivals, and dance recitals, among other things. Given the park’s prime location in downtown Sydney, the revitalization will go a long way towards making the area a more vibrant place to gather, live, and work. Some of this increased vibrancy has already been seen with the completion of the lower pond renovations.
The completion of the lower pond renovations saw the area become a popular park in the centre of the city once again, and the vibe is that the completion of the upper pond will have the same effect on the park as a whole. Work began in 2009 to connect the Boardwalk to Wentworth Park’s pedestrian underpass, which will only serve to make the park a more popular destination among locals and tourists alike. This will increase pedestrian traffic in the downtown, and has already had a positive effect on the downtown businesses, with existing stores seeing an increase in traffic and new businesses opening up and becoming success stories all along Charlotte Street, the city’s main downtown business strip.
photo by Devin Keating