New mid-town community space a winner with whanau
Taumarunui celebrated the official opening of its new mid-town community space and traveler rest area on Saturday with a free sausage sizzle and the local kids giving it a big ‘thumbs-up’.
Mayor Don Cameron said that the mid-town community space was a keystone project in Taumarunui’s revitalisation journey and Council was really happy about how it turned out and the community’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to it.
“This is a fantastic asset for Taumarunui and it was really quite rewarding to see people’s positive reaction to it with whanau enjoying the space,” he said.
“It was especially pleasing to see the kids reactions and the fun they were having whether it was bouncing on the mini-trampolines, the older kids challenging themselves on the climbing wall, or a toddler building up the courage to test his balance walking along a ground beam.
Talking with people many had forgotten that this project actually started almost three years ago when the first concept plans for Taumarunui revitalisation were presented to the community.
What came through strongly from the community at the time was a call for Council to do everything we could to get things moving and the town looking good.
This saw some projects being brought forward including the upgrading of the northern entrance, the river walkway and Cherry Grove along with opportunities for the community to have a say on how Hakiaha St and Railway Station should be refurbished.”
Mayor Cameron noted that the redevelopment of this mid-town area was designed to have a very specific role in the revitalization strategy for Hakiaha St.
“Community engagement identified that people wanted this area to be a space for local people and visitors alike, that would create a sense of community pride, grab the attention of passing travelers, and encourage them to stop and stay for longer periods of time.
This last point was very important to Hakiaha St retailers.
The space was never envisaged as a traditional playground but it was agreed that there should be aspects of play offered that are sculptural in nature, suit the urban context and have a point of difference to other play areas in town,” he said.
Mayor Cameron said that while this stage of the project was complete Council would undertake further enhancements based on feedback or as the need for them becomes apparent.
“We are also planning to refurbish the public toilets.
If people haven’t had the opportunity to come down and see the area for themselves Council would encourage them to do so.
People should also make a note to come by at night when the integrated LED lighting is on as it really is quite spectacular.”