Participants discuss ideas for the plan to construct Herlihey Park at the Municipality of Highlands East's first public meeting this past Saturday at the Lloyd Watson Memorial Centre in Wilberforce for the 7.9 acre property located at 1051 Schofield Rd. which is behind Agnew's General Store. The property was donated by Carol Marcus daughter to Harold Herlihey after whom the park is named./DARREN LUM Staff

Highlands East welcomes public input on Herlihey Park 

The plan for the newly proposed Herlihey Park has taken its first step with a Highlands East public meeting held this past Saturday at the Lloyd Watson Memorial Centre in Wilberforce.

A few months ago Carol Marcus daughter to Harold Herlihey donated the 7.9 acre property behind Agnew’s General Store in front of Dark Lake to the township to be made into a park memorializing Herlihey.

Herlihey was born in Kinmount in 1908 and later moved with his family to Tory Hill in 1919 where he helped his father run a general store and lumber business. In 1933 he married a school teacher from Harcourt Beatrice Schickler. Four years later he moved to Wilberforce with her and helped to build the sawmill for Oakville Basket Company which later became the Wilberforce Veneer and Lumber Company. He became the vice-president until it was sold to Curvply in 1968. He retired two years later.

Herlihey was an active community member serving the Haliburton Rotary Club the United Church the Masonic Lodge the Shriners Monmouth Township as reeve the school board for 18 years as a member and chairperson in 1957. He also funded and started two awards at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School. The F.D. Herlihey Memorial Scholarship (the first HHSS award) and the Mrs. Jean Herlihey Memorial Bursary. They raised two children Carol and Gloria Stepanek. The Herliheys’ former home is adjacent to the park property.

There were 35 participants divided into four groups at the meeting for the property located at 1051 Schofield Rd. The meeting gave birth to a diverse wishlist that included a splash pad and playground area for children; bike and walking paths lit by solar powered lights; bike racks; Frisbee golf; low ropes; volleyball court; dog park; observatory (for stars); open space memorial benches to offset costs for seating; sheltered tables; shuffleboard; snowmobile access point; on-site potable water; an allowance for businesses to operate services/concessions; accessibility to the lake either with stairs or a ramp to the water; a dock; fire hydrant for the fire department; flower gardens; an information board; washrooms and showers signage to direct visitors a spot to play the winter game of “crokicurl” – a hybrid of crokinole and curling – and using the pre-existing buildings on the property (former welding and pump shops) to turn into a museum about logging.

A few residents cited the Austin Sawmill Heritage Park in Kinmount as an example for some of the ideas. The groups were also interested in beautifying the space. This included keeping the large trees on the property and planting more.

Consideration was given to a proper entrance and drop off area where the property comes out to Loop Road and for nearby neighbours to have their privacy and peace be undisturbed including a suggestion to improve Schofield Road in preparation for the added traffic.

Highlands East Reeve Dave Burton appreciated the turnout and the feedback.

He said this information will be compiled into a report taking close to two months. It will be available online through the township’s website and in hard copy form at the office and other public locations. Although not scheduled Burton expects another public meeting in the autumn after the report is released. This process he said will likely include consultation with a professional architect.

Where the money for the park will come from is unknown at this time because the property was donated after this year’s budget was finalized. The goal is to have the park completed in a year Burton said. However he said it’s important this project be done correctly and not be completed “piecemeal.” He wasn’t certain without talking to the rest of council but said the park likely won’t be completed for two years because of various requirements in the process from consultation with Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to possible re-zoning issues.

“I want to do it once and I want to do it right” he said.

With files from the Municipality of Highlands East