Today is a very special day for my husband and I – it’s our home anniversary! Yep, we’ve been in our present abode for eight long years. Back in 2007, things were different: the streets and driveways were composed of dust and gravel, we lived under the hum of constant construction, and we waited with baited breath for a strip of grass and a (sad-looking) standard issue tree.
Then, we had nine months to enjoy our new home before our first baby arrived, and completely turned our lives inside out.
The next few months were a blur. Being preoccupied with a newborn, I didn’t have a chance to really appreciate all the small, subtle happenings that were changing my subdivision into a community. Doors and garages were re-painted to reflect the homeowner’s personality. As the construction dust settled, parents began to take walks and children began to ride their bikes along the quiet streets. And finally, with the creation of a local playground, a meeting place for kids and parents alike was established; on any given summer night, the playground was teeming with happy children and smiling moms and dads.
And to this day, it takes five attempts to pry my kids away from the swings, sand and monkey bars.
Why are local playgrounds and parks just so integral to childhood? It’s because they help create community, and your community is your home. It’s where you get together with friends, play with your children, and cheer-on your local sports team. And you depend on your community spaces to be clean, safe and durable – as do your fellow neighbours.
But what if your local space is beginning to look a bit (wait for it) TIRE-d looking?
The Community Renewal Fund offered by Ontario Tire Stewardship gives communities the opportunity to build spaces using sustainable materials made with recycled rubber from Ontario tires. The Fund is a great way to build memorable spaces while supporting the local economy – and the environment.
The Community Renewal Fund is a grant program that awards eligible Ontario-based communities and organizations up to $50,000 towards the purchase and installation of Ontario-manufactured recycled rubber products such as rubber mulch, athletic and arena flooring, roof shakes, sidewalk pavers, and even playground surfacing. Using recycled materials helps the environment while supporting Ontario’s economy.
The Fund is designed to encourage communities to:
• Rethink the way they approach new projects and consider sustainable options.
• Support Ontario’s economy by choosing to Rebuild old or inefficiently used spaces.
• Renew public areas so they reach their full potential and can be enjoyed by the entire community.
The grant is open to municipalities, registered non-profit community groups or organizations, schools/colleges/universities, and First Nations communities throughout Ontario. To qualify, projects must utilize products made from Ontario recycled rubber and be completed within 12 months of approval. The space must be publicly accessible and wheelchair accessible.
Eligible projects fall under two categories: 1) granular products such as mulch for landscaping or playgrounds; and, 2) manufactured products such as patio tiles, sidewalks, athletic surfacing, roof shingles, underlayment, subflooring and others, and pour-in-place surfacing.
I have such amazing memories of spending time at the local playground as a child. In fact, I vividly remember making a pact with my best friend to visit the park every single day during the summer. We’d hop on our bikes, then hop on the swings, and spend the evening swaying in the breeze, chatting about which member of New Kids on the Block was the cutest, and why.
Every child deserves to have access to clean, safe and durable public spaces.
Growing tire-d of that eyesore in your community that could use a facelift? Reach out to your local city councillor, educate your friends and neighbours and get them mobilized, and be a part of the change you want to see in your neighbourhood!
For more information, visit rethinktires.ca.