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Harrison Park Master Plan

Background

Completed in 2003, the Harrison Park Master Plan study reviewed all park functions, how the park is used, and create a prioritized action plan to address the needs of park users.

The study identified several key areas of focus, including use, vehicle circulation, natural features, slope protection, trails, and infrastructure. For the purpose of the study, Harrison Park was divided into 8 'design theme areas'. Each area was studied independently, and assigned priority actions specific to the area. The Harrison Park Master Plan concludes with a prioritized list of projects.

What the study found:

The Master Plan describes the central themes that create the 'urban paradise' feeling in Harrison Park, including slopes, meadows, and water courses that create the famous scenery, and encourages all design decisions preserve those features.

The trails network within Harrison Park is of prime importance to the function of the park, and a main visitor attraction. They are also an important link between the Sydenham River Trail and the Inglis Falls Trail. The study recommends further developing the trail system to improve these links.

Despite the many uses of Harrison Park, it is not well linked internally. To increase a visitor's ability to find a specific area, a program to update signage within the park should be considered. A program to update trash and recycling bins is also recommended.

Accessibility has become paramount with the arrival of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). While the Harrison Park Master Plan pre-dates the AODA, accessibility is an important goal for future development. Harrison Park should include play spaces that are accessible to all persons.

Due to the variety of uses at Harrison Park, there is often congestion between pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Flow patterns are in opposite directions, and there is often not enough room for vehicular traffic at peak times when the pool, campground, tennis courts, seniors building, and community hall are in use. The study discusses future recreation trends and anticipates more pedestrian and cycling traffic. The projected changes merit a traffic safety study.

Buildings are meeting capacity and most are designated or listed as heritage structures. Upgrades should follow 2 main themes:

  1. Accessibility;
  2. Coordination of façade improvements to reflect the rich history of the park.

Electrical and sanitary sewer systems have been improved. There are also planned improvements to the water system when funding is available.

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