By Gina Dunn
The Arnold D. Johnson Sports field officially opened on July 21. The opening ceremony took place Saturday afternoon during North Preston Days. Many family, community members, and government officials attended on the misty day.
Arnold D. Johnson was a very prominent community member. He was a World War II veteran. He served 12 years as a Halifax County Councillor. As county councillor, he also served as a member of the Halifax County School board. He established many community organizations, including the District 16 Volunteer Fire Department (Lake Echo Main station and North Preston sub station), the North Preston Housing Demonstration Fund (which became the Preston Area Housing Fund), and the North Preston Residential Subdivision including the first municipal water and sewage services in North Preston.
As a volunteer, Arnold was a founding member of the North Preston Ratepayers Association; founding member and vice-president of the George Washington Carver Credit Union; founding member of the North Preston Day Care Centre and the North Preston Medical Society; a founding member of the North Preston Recreation Association; and founder and chair of the Joint Action Committee which became the Watershed Association Development Enterprises Limited. He was also a founding member of the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia and a founding member for establishing a Cenotaph for the Preston area located in North Preston.
The field is located on the site where the Allan W. Evans School used to be. The current elementary school, Nelson Whynder School, is across the street and has never had a sports field or any green space, but will now have a field for the students to use. This long-awaited piece of community infrastructure will be well used by the whole community. Area MP Darrell Samson stated that infrastructure like this is very important in that it keeps people in their communities instead of having to leave every time they want to do something.
This field is the second new community infrastructure project in North Preston. Earlier in July, it was announced that North Preston will also be home to a professional grade outdoor basketball court to be located behind the North Preston Community Centre. Shaquille Smith, who grew up playing basketball in North Preston and then at Acadia University, started the process and has gotten funding from the province and HRM towards the project.