The city’s oldest park will reopen for business Friday after undergoing an $11.5-million facelift.

Originally built in 1912, downtown’s Central Memorial Park has been undergoing improvements for the past two years, explained a member of the city’s parks department.

Michelle Reid, a conservation landscape architect with the city, said that the new park was built with two priorities in mind.

“One to retain and celebrate the historical significance of the park ... we also recognized that it was very important that this park remains vital for the citizens of today, that it’s not a museum piece stuck in the past,” she said.

Reid explained that redevelopment of the park was heavily influenced by Calgarians who suggested the addition of more water features.

In addition to three fountains, Reid said the city has added public washrooms, a permanent office for the parks department and a café building, which is set to open sometime this summer.

Ald. John Mar is pleased with the rejuvenated park.

“It clearly demonstrates the City of Calgary’s ongoing commitment for recreation spaces,” he said.

“This is history in the making.”

The official reopening of the park will take place at 5 p.m. Friday with a speech by Mayor Bronconnier.

Prior to the reopening, at 4:30 p.m., Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be laying a wreath in acknowledgement of the Canadian military.

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