T’is the season to believe in magic and success

When we first floated the idea of community-building around an ACAD and SAIT student design challenge we didn’t predict how engaging this drinking fountain project would become. In fact, we weren’t sure of anything. Expectation management is a way to avoid disappointment and we madly managed our expectations. We needn’t have worried.

There’s not words to convey how appreciative we are for all the moral support and hours of volunteer work put into the project so far. Fundraising is always an issue, and yet, we believe.

What have we accomplished so far to ensure the drinking fountain will get planted in Riley Park? Let’s chart the progress:

  • Our student designers put their artistic hearts, souls connected to nature, and creative brains into incredible designs.
  • The jury of anonymous professionals are so very qualified to select a design that will be a showpiece attraction for our much loved and historic park.
  • IBI Group is standing by to offer expertise to the jury so that the fountains are reliable, affordable, sustainable and feasible.
  • The administrations and staff of the three neighbouring learning institutions – Hillhurst School, SAIT and ACAD – are collaborating and engaging students together and with the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA), we think for the first time.
  • The residents of Kensington area are working with us to showcase the designs and get community feedback.
  • Our charity partners, Parks Foundation Calgary and This is My City Art Society shepherd us through the paperwork of grant applications and fundraising.
  • Talented markitgirlz designed the logo and website, other locals connected the project with Kensington BRZ.
  • Local businesses are cheering us onward. We are indeed a small village in the larger community.
  • Staff in City of Calgary Departments – notably Parks and Heritage – have done everything possible to clear the way for the fountain, once constructed, to be planted, turned on, and taken into the city’s inventory.
  • A local fabrication company stepped up to work with us in constructing the fountain once we have a final design.
  • Everyone we approach offered to help publicize, and we hope anyone reading this hits a forward or social media button to help more.

Yes, we have a lot of work to do, especially in raising money, before we succeed in constructing and planting the fountain in late summer next year.

Will we be successful? With your help, yes. Please click the button to donate through the Parks Foundationdonate button, and specify your support is for Water for Riley.

We believe.

Why is a drinking fountain important for Riley Park?

Background to the project

Our much-loved Riley Park has lots to offer visitors. It also lacks basic facilities like drinking water and toilets in its most heavily used areas near the playground, picnic tables, and new bandstand.

Facilities were identified as an unfunded priority for both the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association and the City of Calgary Parks Department. That means it’s officially known the services are needed, and there’s no public money allocated now or in future budget cycles.

What are the benefits to date?

Once this close-knit community saw a need and opportunity we mobilized around a vision of a unique, functional, public art fountain. A group of committed volunteer residents started an exciting multi-institution collaboration with collective beneficial impacts.

We instituted a SAIT and ACAD student challenge to design a drinking fountain that reflects the heritage values of one of Calgary’s oldest districts, and aesthetic values of Riley Park’s gorgeous flowerbeds, and athletic values of the cricket pitch, playground and pool. Participating students have taken ‘ownership’ of their park and their fountain.

We already see the benefits even before the fountain’s design is selected. All the learning institutions are now engaging with each other and the community for the first time. The designs will be publicly displayed, giving student talent a showcase. IBI Group, formerly a local business until it recently relocated its office, has agreed to donate part of its services to provide engineering oversight. The Calgary Foundation provided the first money in and we’re fundraising for the balance.

How can you be involved?

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Contact us waterforriley.org. To donate through donate buttonthe Parks Foundation Calgary, click on the button. Please specify the project you support is Water for Riley.