Neighbours worked together to plant trees.
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Jane Stephen moved into the area near Peanut Park in Winnipeg two years ago. "It was lovely to have a park, but it was neglected," said Jane.
Fortunately other area residents agreed, took up the cause and, along with some help from Manitoba Hydro's Forest Enhancement Program, have changed the Crescentwood-area park drastically.
"It's exquisite now. It's like stepping back in time," said Jane who now usually makes the park a destination on her daily walks. "It's a jewel in the middle of the neighbourhood. I take pride in my park now. If I see garbage I pick it up. Many people feel that way now. It has given the area new pride and we're protective of it. You get that old-fashioned neighbourhood feel."
And that was all part of the plan.
"Peanut Park was indeed run down," said local resident, Charles Feaver. "We held a neighbourhood picnic and one of the guys was talking about what the park was like when he was a kid. As a group we decided to bring it back to what it was."
Armed with a vision, the neighbourhood group, called Friends of Peanut Park, set about to do some fund-raising and planned some work bees.
The City fixed the infrastructure of the park including drainage, play structures, landscaping and walking paths, while money the group fund-raised from neighbours went to shrubs, flowers, benches and maintenance.
"It's an older area and a lot of trees had died so we had to reestablish those," said Charles.
Fifty-five donated trees from Manitoba Hydro's Forest Enhancement Program over the course of two years certainly helped the cause.
Barb Parke and Charles Feaver enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Click for larger image.
"It was so worthwhile taking the time to fill out the Forest Enhancement Program form," said Charles. "It's such a great program. We could never have afforded to do a big planting like this."
The Forest Enhancement Program encourages the public to help us make Manitoba's natural and community forest environment more attractive and diverse.
"When schools, churches and hospitals for example, beautify their recreation areas with help from our program, the entire community benefits from these improved public spaces," said Manitoba Hydro's Gil Godard, who helps promote the program.
"We put in the first batch of trees in 2009 and this spring we added trees with shape and colour such as cherry and crab apple trees," said Charles.
"We're getting tons of feedback," said Barb Parke, key coordinator of Friends of Peanut Park. "People rave about the park and are coming from farther and farther away."
The improved setting has also resulted in positive changes to the kinds of people in the park. "Families have come back," said Charles.
"The trees make such a good and visible difference to the park. We learned a lot about trees. And the virtue of trees is that, for the most part, they take care of themselves," said Barb.