Biggar residents have been able to enjoy the Sandra Schmirler Olympic Gold Park for almost 20 years now.
Just recently, the park was awarded the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association's (SPRA) Parks and Open Spaces award for 2017. The award is given to parks who have excelled in planning, designing and developing a park or open space.
Judy Redlick has been the co-chair of the Sandra Schmirler Park since it's inception in 1998. She said it's an honour to receive this award, "It's great to receive this award, recognition is always appreciated, especially when you've been dedicated for so many years. It just validates the importance of working together as a community and staying together to honour people who have made a difference in your community."
The Sandra Schmirler Park Committee started working on the park right before Schmirler's Olympic win. The park was named after Schmirler shortly after her team captured the gold medal in 1998.
The park is one of the few privately funded parks. "Most parks are funded through different parts of the government and we've been funding for 20 years to maintain the park and keep it up to standard." Redlick said are constantly working to keep the Sandra Schmirler Park well maintained, "That was very important to Sandra, she said if her name was on it she wanted it to be maintained, so that's been our goal."
Part of the park's upkeep is making sure it's accessible to the entire public. "It's handicap accessible. The equipment, you can go up on it if you have a wheel chair. Or if you're a mom with a young one and a stroller, you can go safely through the park and up on the equipment to watch the other kids."
The park has remained relatively unchanged through the years, other than a bit of growth. "The trees have grown now, they're getting much bigger. That's really the one change in appearance." Redlick said the equipment, greenery and name all come together to make for a great space, "Although the park is beautiful in aesthetics, I think the beauty of the park is really the name."