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Makeover for Murphy

by: Adam Gariepy
City: Smiths Falls, Ontario

Project Type

Other

Number of beneficiaries

200

Project Description

Smiths Falls is in the heart of the Rideau Canal which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated between Ottawa and Kingston. Nestled in the centre of Smiths Falls is Murphy Park which used to be a vibrant green space with a sand beach where residents could take advantage of the cooling waters of the Rideau waterway on long, hot summer days.  Families brought picnic lunches and spent the day and swimming was the main activity for both young and old. Since the 1970’s the use of Murphy Park has declined to the point that there is now very little traffic at this beautiful but somewhat neglected park that provided so many happy memories for past generations.  Our municipality, like so many others, struggles to finance repairs to roads, bridges, water and sewer infrastructure and there is little left to maintain and enhance our parks.  The loss of almost all of our formerly vital manufacturing industry and most of our large employers has impacted our Town’s ability to capitalize on the beautiful river that bisects Smiths Falls.

Our project would undertake a “Makeover for Murphy” to elevate this incredible asset in our beautiful town and breathe new life back into the park for the entire community.

Picnic tables and benches will increase seating and give people a place to relax and enjoy a picnic.  Steps into the water would provide easier access, particularly for older people.  Improved lighting will allow increased use into the evening hours. There is a recently rehabilitated building providing washroom facilities and the addition of a sound system will allow for music in the park and increase the potential for events sponsored by local service groups and the town itself.

The installation of a lifeguard tower with appropriate equipment will allow for future opportunities to bring in a lifeguard, such as summer student applications or grants that can help cover this cost, so that water safety will be increased and visitors will feel comfortable while enjoying the waterfront.

The addition of a play structure for younger children would increase the visual appeal and provide another activity that will help grow interest and usage by both residents and visitors.

“Makeover for Murphy” is something that will have a wide community impact and include all age groups. The Smiths Falls & District Centre for Youth is invested in our community and sees the advantages to everyone if this project comes to fruition.

How would $50,000 benefit the project

A financial contribution in the amount of $50,000 would allow for all of our wishes to come true when we “Makeover Murphy”. The funds will be spent on items that will not only enhance the park itself but the community as a whole because everyone will be able to take advantage of some aspect of the park once the project is complete. There will truly be something for everyone to do and allow access no matter who they are. The funds will allow us to enrich this asset within our town and increase its attractiveness and usage.

Without this opportunity for funding, we would not be able to predict if or when we would be in a position to complete these changes to Murphy Park and it would continue to remain in its current state with only minimal usage.

Our town is already blessed to have this kind of waterfront and these funds would help capture the attention of traffic through the waterways, increase tourism not only to the park but also the community, increasing the “curb appeal” to boaters touring the Rideau Canal which would also assist in the goal of having them stop to experience both the park and the Town itself.

This project has the potential to change our community for the better and create the energy that once existed years ago by allowing the park to flourish once again and continue to provide the opportunity for current and future generations to enjoy all the beauty that Murphy Park has to offer.

About the Community

Smiths Falls is an incredible community and never ceases to amaze us when it comes to pride, generosity, commitment and engagement.

The level of engagement we see from our community members at events, festivals, and community gatherings is inspirational to say the least. We enjoy coming together, getting to know our neighbours and interacting positively with one another over a shared event or cause.

Our community’s ability to rally support during times of need is something that cannot be put into words.  Strangers helping strangers, donating time, goods or money for whatever the immediate cause is. The powerful outpouring of support that happens when these times occur makes us proud to call Smiths Falls home. This was put to the test in a recent fire that devastated our small community when many people were left homeless and yet, within a matter of hours, support poured in in the form of money, clothing, household items and places to stay.  No one cared that they didn’t know the people that were affected, all that mattered was that our community members needed help and that was enough. This often reminds us of a wonderful saying, “You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others” and that rings especially true within our community.

You can almost be guaranteed when you walk down the streets of Smiths Falls that you will receive a smile, a friendly “G’day” or even a random conversation with someone you don’t know because being friendly is what we do.

Our community members are continuously invested and engaged in all that happens in town and we are always seeking ways to improve and enjoy what our town has to offer.

Our community keeps it local and enjoys supporting local businesses and talent to again continue to support one another and help each other flourish. Henry Ford said it best “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” and right here in Smiths Falls we continuously see success each and every day.

I personally have witnessed incredible things right here in my hometown and it excites me, encourages me, and just amazes me at the strength, level of engagement and commitment our community members have towards our town.   

To be successful with this project will truly warm my heart and the hearts of others as our town continues to grow and flourish.

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