The latest upgrade to the Lions Park on Hickman Street was officially opened on July 10 when officials from the Town of Amherst, Amherst Lions Club and Community Credit Union cut a ribbon in front of the new $105,000 washroom-changeroom facility.
The 16 x 24-foot building also houses an electrical room and a pump room for a future splashpad.
“We hope to do the splash pad next year,” Rubin Millard, chairman of the Lions Club’s park committee, said after the event, which also included a barbecue.
Prior to the construction of the new building, the four-year-old park, which sits on the site of the former West Highlands Elementary School, had to rely on porta-potties.
The latest upgrade will make the park more user-friendly, Millard said. It will also enhance the park’s other features that include a walking track, a children’s playground, tennis courts and picnic tables.
“We promised when we got rid of the old Lions Park that we’d put a park in here, and promised it would be a better park than what we had up there,” Millard said, adding the club’s goal was to make the new park a place everyone could use.
He estimated the club has spent about $500,000 building and upgrading the park since 2015.
Millard praised the Community Credit Union for helping make the latest upgrade possible.
“They are giving us $10,000 a year for 10 years,” he said.
Howard Welch, chairman of the Community Credit Union board, said his organization was very excited about being able to pitch in and help the Lions Club improve the park.
“The Community Credit Union is a community builder,” Welch said. “We do everything we possibly can to maintain our business, the rest goes back to the community from where we make our profits. So, when you make a mortgage payment and you see the interest, part of it comes to this park.”
He praised the Lions Club for building the park.
“They have done a terrific job,” he said. “They are community-oriented people. We are proud to be able to step up and do something to help them. We’re just proud to be a part of it.”
Coun. Terry Rhindress, who sits on the park committee, also praised the Lions Club for taking on the park project.
“It’s unbelievable how the park has turned out,” Rhindress said. “The Lions Club went over and above in making this happen. The park is so beautiful.”
The Town of Amherst maintains and operates the park, including the new building that was just opened.