Talbot Park. Do you know where it is? And do you care if it is falling into disrepair?
Michael Stevenson is a long-time resident of MacNaughton Rd. who’s cared about the park over many years, as evidenced by his thoughtful letters expressing concerns to local councillors, starting in 1998.
The park is a large piece of property that includes Leaside High’s sports field, the baseball park below McDonalds, Leaside Lawn Bowling and the backs of the streets of Bessborough, Cameron and Fleming.
There is a children’s playground off that stub end of Bessborough Dr. and a bit of paved path there too. Of the five entrances to the park, only one is signed, on Hanna Rd., south of Leaside High, on a sign that says 635 Eglinton Ave. East.
For the last two years almost nothing has been undertaken, and Stevenson is not getting answers to his letters asking what’s happening.
Yes, the large football field in the middle had a lot of money spent returfing it recently, but “sadly, (it) was not a success, because the sprinkler system was not working during the summer and the grass did not get properly rooted and established. I was there when the service company employee came and repaired the sprinkler system problem in October,” says Stevenson. The resulting mud bowl is now covered by a huge tarp.
At one time there was a continuous walking path along the top of the park between Bessborough and Fleming. Remnants remain, but there is no formal path.
Signage, entrance plantings, more benches, garbage and recycling containers more usefully deployed (especially at the McDonalds end of the park), some trees to act as a break along Eglinton – they’re all on Stevenson’s wish list.
Off the end of Fleming, the entrance park has a garbage and recycling tin, a newspaper pick-up box, some fencing with badly peeling paint and a bit of paved path. New this year are a tree and bench in tribute to the 50 years of volunteering Howard Birnie has given to Leaside baseball.
There are no other public benches in the park, other than bleacher seating around the baseball diamond and running track.
Talbot Park is city-owned, but with Leaside High and Leaside Lawn Bowling having some responsibilities for their primary-used space, there are difficulties in establishing who will follow through on initiatives. At a meeting held in April, 2010, there was talk of establishing a working group to further explore revitalization options. That group met once, in August of 2010, and hasn’t been heard from since.
Is paying some attention to Talbot Park something to consider during our 100th anniversary year?