Government buys land for public park

Premier Alden McLaughlin announced Wednesday that government has purchased a plot of land known as Scranton Central Park for $272,500 as part of plans to enhance public park areas in the middle of George Town.

Mr. McLaughlin said he and former Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts had been trying to buy the land on behalf of the people of George Town for “well over a decade” but the owners had not been willing to sell until this year.

“Although the property was privately owned, the owners graciously allowed the community to use the land for many years as a park. And so over the years, it has been used for many things – everything from community gatherings to basketball games and more. It was, in many respects, an oasis for the neighboring community in an area that was becoming more and more commercial,” Mr. McLaughlin said in a statement in the Legislative Assembly.

During its last administration, government received approval from Cabinet to purchase property behind the Government Administration Building. The Scranton Central Park site is adjacent to this land.

Mr. McLaughlin said two independent valuations of the Scranton Central Park were obtained, as well as a valuation by Lands and Survey, to determine the value of the property. He said the negotiations for the land were “a bit protracted,” but were finalized last month.

The premier added that the government still plans to use the old Government Administration building, known as the Glasshouse, site as a public park. “God willing, we will get this done over the next budget cycle,” he said.

“The purchase of this property [the Scranton Central Park] by government ensures that it continues to be available for use by the community and can serve other community purposes in the future. The ability to improve the condition of the park, as well as to expand the current quarter-acre site using the adjacent Crown land creates exciting possibilities,” Mr. McLaughlin added.