The most prominent asset of the park system for the Village of New Minas is Lockhart and Ryan Memorial Park. It is the “flagship” of the community and neighborhood park system developed within the Park. The Park was developed with a keen awareness for the preservation of natural green areas within the urban environment and the need for these green spaces to supply the recreation and leisure needs of Village residents.
The history of the Park is one of progress in facility development and administrative organization. The Park, originally 27 acres in size, was administered through the New Minas Recreation Association, a volunteer non-profit organization who were responsible for the development and organization of recreation programs and facilities within the Village. The Association was responsible for the development of the Park since the late 1970’s. The Park consisted of two ball fields, children’s play building with washrooms, picnic area playground, canteen and parking.
In 1984, during a public meeting, approval was given to hire a full-time Recreation Director and create the present Recreation Department. Upon transfer of duties from the Association to the Recreation Director, development in both programs and facilities continued. Starting in 1985, lights were installed on the Miller Diamond, dugouts were built, fencing added, roadways paved and new playground equipment and picnic areas were added.
In 1987, the Director’s office was moved from the Civic Centre to the Children’s Centre building, which was upgraded to include a reception area, offices and storage and washroom facilities.
In 1988, the Province of Nova Scotia, after a request was made by the Village and supported by the Kings County District School Board, granted an 18-acre section of land at the rear of the Evangeline Middle School (E.M.S). This enlarged the Park from 27 acres to 45 acres.
In 1989, a maintenance building was constructed as well as two tennis courts. In late 1989, the Advisory Committee recognized the need to organize the procedure for the development of the new 45-acre park followed by the Master Plan Process culminating in the development of a master plan.
Today, the Park houses a splash pad, 3 soccer fields: Lockhart Ryan’s #1, 2 (lights) and 3, Beach Volleyball Courts (3), Miller Ball Field, mini-soccer pitch, maintenance building, tennis courts, basketball court, playground and picnic areas, Recreation Department Office, Trail system, clubhouse, upper ball field, washroom facilities, ample parking space, etc.
The Park includes year round seasonal maintenance and signage.
Activities that take place in the Park year round include: walking, jogging, trail hiking, cross-country skiing, track & field meets, soccer, New Minas Soccer Association, East Kings Soccer Association, snow shoeing, Tennis, basketball, ball hockey, cyclo-cross biking, New Minas Celebration Days, New Minas Invitational Soccer Tournament (22 years), Canada Day Celebrations, Fireworks, outdoor events, Nova Scotia outdoor leadership courses, first aid courses, day camps, water slides, group picnics, picnic areas, playground use, outdoor rink, beach volleyball, group fundraising events, school use by Horton High School, Evangeline Middle School, New Minas Elementary School, children’s programs, family activities and events, free play areas, and an 18 hole basketed disc golf course.