During the fall of 2011, the first phase of the park's construction began with the trail system and the new Fenced Dog Park which are both open for use. The second phase of construction will occur in 2012 and will include the installation of an accessible playground, trees and other site amenities. Future phases will see the construction of other proposed facilities at the park, pending secured funding.
In 2009, the City of Prince George entered into an agreement with the School District No. 57 and the Province of British Columbia which resulted in a transfer of lands at the Duchess school site to the City for development as a community park. The new park would serve neighbourhood residents within the Crescents area, as well as the larger school community. The redevelopment would honour the site's historical prominence at the heart of the Crescents Neighbourhood as conceived by the Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company in 1912. The public recreation uses that are being proposed for the park area are also consistent with the policies of the 2003 Crescents Neighbourhood Plan and the new park will partially address the present deficit of District Parkland within the East Bowl District, as identified in the 2008 Parks and Open Space Master Plan.
On March 16th 2010, the new Duchess Park Secondary School opened to the public. This was followed by the demolition of the old school facility over the summer of 2010. During the fall of 2010, City Operations began preliminary site preparations which would be followed by the first phase of the parks construction.
In May 2010, the Prince George Accessibility Advisory Committee received approval from City Council to commence fundraising for an Accessible Playground at Duchess Community Park. The playground would serve children with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities and provide universal access to children and their caregivers through accessible ramps and rubberized surfacing. The Committee has begun fundraising and will continue with these efforts until the first phase of the playground is installed in the summer of 2011. Future phases would include sensory gardens, natural play elements and expanded play structures.
On Monday, April 4th 2011, City Council approved the Duchess Park Plan for implementation. To view the Duchess Park Plan, Council Report and powerpoint presentation, please see the Documents included below.
The Duchess Park Plan has been prepared with a great deal of consideration for the input received from the public consultation processes outlined below. The Plan aims to acheive the vision for Duchess Park as a "welcoming park that offers opportunities for people of all ages and mobility levels, in an environment that honours the past and fosters a sense of community". Many facilities are included in the Park Plan such as an accessible playground, fenced dog park, mini bike park, amphitheatre, all weather sports field, heritage components, public art, trails and more.
The 1st phase of construction will occur in 2011, with subsequent phases pending secured partnerships and funding sources.