It started with the gift of a urinal, before the blimp was spotted over the STōK Cae Ras. Then, of course, there was the “It’s McElhenney! (feat. Ryan Reynolds)” song. Now, for Ryan Reynold’s 47th birthday, Rob McElhenney has submitted proposals to ‘gift’ his friend and Wrexham AFC Co-Chairman a new public park in the heart of Wrexham City Centre entitled “The Ryan Rodney Reynolds Memorial Park”.
After dropping a video on Rob’s social channels at 1pm on Monday, interest, excitement and imagination has been sparked locally about what could feature in the park and how it will be used going forward.
Locally, the Wrexham community all know the proposed site as that of the former Hippodrome cinema which was much loved before being demolished in 1998.
However after lying vacant for a number of years, Wrexham Council purchased the site in late 2021 with the aim of using it to help create a focal point for increased dwell time and to stimulate some of the regeneration of this part of town. In 2022, the Council brought the site and undertook initial refurbishment leading to several community events. The launch of the Placemaking plan in 2023 now creates the vision for the Market quarter, which aligns with that of Rob McElhenney for the site.
In a guarded operation until now, Rob has outlined some preliminary plans to Wrexham Council of his aims and ambitions for the park and how he hopes that he and Ryan are able to create a flexible space that can be used by the Wrexham community. As the space strongly associates with the Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, there is also potential to create a family orientated space, possibly with play facilities, tables and chairs, artworks, street food and even some community cinema with a nod back to the former Hippodrome site.
This would provide variety in the form and function of the city’s external spaces, creating a new destination for a wider demographic group — reinforcing Wrexham’s ambition of becoming a ‘playful’ city.
If the plans, due to be formally submitted to Wrexham Council, are approved, the Ryan Rodney Reynolds Memorial Park would be redeveloped and maintained by the pair – with potential revenue streams underpinning the upkeep of the site.
After launching the birthday surprise on his social channels, Rob was really keen to highlight how he hopes the site can become a focal point for the community and visitors to town.
Locally, Cllr Mark Pritchard, Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council added;
“After purchasing the former Hippodrome site last year, we’ve had exactly the same ambition as Rob to bring the space back into use as some sort of community park. Rob’s vision fits so well with our Placemaking ambitions for the City Centre and the early proposals for developing it into pop-up space for our community and attracting visitors to this part of town is really intriguing. The added bonus of having Rob & Ryan involved in the regeneration of the site with a few quirky ideas which only they can do is fantastic and we’ll really look forward to working together as their plans develop.”
Plans, as shown in Rob’s online film, are due to be formally submitted to Wrexham County Borough Council in due course.
For more details, check out the park website at; www.parksandwrex.co.uk