KITCHENER -- Kitchener's RBJ Schlegel Park officially opened to the public on Wednesday.

The 42-acre parkland at the corner of Fischer-Hallman and Huron includes one of the city's largest playgrounds and artificial turf fields that can now be accessed by the public.

Next year, the amenities will expand to include a splash pad, a natural turf field and cricket pitch.

"RBJ Schlegel Park is designed to meet the needs of our growing community for many years to come. I’ve patiently waited for today and am thrilled to now see phase one complete and the park open for the community to enjoy," said Ward 5 Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock in a news release.

"It took perseverance, teamwork, and the right people to see this park come to life. Council has been very supportive of making this project happen, and we couldn’t have done it without the help of the Schlegel family."

The federal government invested $750,000 in the project, while local company RBJ Schlegel, involved in senior care and urban development, made a $2.3-million contribution, the largest in the city's history.

"Our three-generation family business has been focused on building healthy, age-friendly communities since the 1940s," said CEO James Schlegel.

"We are honoured to contribute to such an important recreational amenity which will be heavily used by the young, active families in this part of the city and will contribute to building a strong community which is so important to the health of our society and country."

The park is also designed to contain all stormwater on site, featuring 9,000 square metres of rain gardens, infiltration galleries and bioswales, which channel stormwater and remove debris and pollution.

The city says the park will save millions of litres of water during its lifetime.

A unique story behind the bathrooms

The completed RBJ Schlegel Park includes bathroom facilities on-site, but to some, they may look pretty grand for a public bathroom.

In March of 2019, the city moved a designated heritage home that was located on the property before it was destined to become a park.

That winter, workers hoisted the house onto a flatbed truck before moving it a few feet every 10 minutes towards its final destination in the park 200 metres away. It's a move that was expected to take up to two days.

Now, the former home for people houses the bathroom facilities at the park.