The Western Sky Land Trust will be providing an update on their Gray Park Project at an Open House.

On April 18, they will be at the Sheep River Library from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. to give an overview of the park development process.

The Western Sky Land Trust operates in the Southern Alberta area, with their primary focus being along the Bow River and the Bow River watershed.

They protect critical watersheds and have conserved over 20,000 acres of land so far.

Part of the land they are in charge of is an ecologically significant piece of land right along the Sheep River, on the Black Diamond side of Diamond Valley.

"And they have had that for about eight years," explains Gray Park Project Manager Chris Manderson. "And in 2018, a fellow by the name of Gordon Grey passed, and he had left some money. He had wanted to see a natural area park developed somewhere in the area for the benefit of Albertans. Long story, the gift that Mr. Grey made to the Land Trust turned into this idea of working with the town of Diamond Valley to develop a park. "

Which is what they have been doing for the past 18 months.

The money they received from Mr. Grey will cover the cost of the construction of the park, and then more, leaving very little for the town of Diamond Valley to cover.

They plan to take the land the Trust owns, then add some of the Town's park space that surrounds it and turn it into a park.

"The park itself is about 33 acres in size. Considered to be ecologically significant, this really unique, special habitat. Wetlands and things like that along the river. And what we are going to do is make that an amenity for people in the town of Diamond Valley," said Manderson.

They are getting pretty close to beginning work on the park project.

Funding for this project was donated by Mr. Gray (phot via Chris MandersonFunding for this project was donated by Mr. Gray (photo via Chris Manderson)

Since their first Open House in November, they have been working with the input they received to create a concept of what they want the park to look like.

Their second and final Open House, which is happening on April 18th, will showcase their concept and plans for the park.

They plan to begin construction sometime this summer and hope to have it completed and open in September of this year.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Open House to see what the future park will look like.

"When we talked to the public last fall, one of the things we heard very clearly from residents is, 'Keep it the way is,'" Manderson explains. "They wanted it protected as a natural area, they wanted a park design concept that was in keeping with those values, the natural quality of the area. And I think that's what we've done."

They will also be including educational interpretative programs for the park.