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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Skate plans slowly rolling along

Designs have been released for Greytown’s highly anticipated Wheels Park, a project that has been in the pipeline for over 25 years.

The initial proposal in 2010 to install a skate facility at Soldiers’ Memorial Park on Kuratawhiti St was ditched after residents living near the site objected.

The park is now destined for the corner of Cotter and Pierce streets and has $1 million earmarked from the Restricted Reserve fund of South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC].

Due to the fund’s origin – payments made by developers when creating subdivisions committed for the acquisition and development of reserves and open spaces – the park will not impact rates.

Long-time skater and park proponent Sid Kempton said they had had “overwhelmingly positive” comments from those engaging with consultation and noted that it has been a lengthy process.

“There’s lots of excitement that we’re on the home stretch in terms of locking the design down,” Kempton said.

“I think the delays will be worthwhile because we’ve done the right thing every step of the way.”

Since the project was officially backed in SWDC’s Long Term Plan in 2021, Kempton has been working with skate architecture consultancy RICH Landscapes director Richard Smith to create concept plans.

On its website, RICH Landscapes – which is also involved with renewing Masterton’s skatepark – said the project incorporates skateable furniture, a pump track, a basketball half-court, and a car park.

“The park fosters improved pedestrian entry and seamless connectivity between Greytown Park and the Woodside Trail Entry.”

The project will be achieved in stages, with the first stage – the wheels and skate park
area – locked in with a construction date scheduled for early 2025.

The funding allocated from SWDC will go towards this stage, and Kempton said the other stages [basketball court, children’s playground, and pump track] will require additional fundraising.

“The great thing is the design’s been done so they can be done individually,” Kempton said.

“We won’t end up with an eyesore of a half-finished facility while we’re fundraising for the remaining stages.

“The more we can get our community in behind it, the faster it can be built, but we acknowledge that we’re
talking no doubt some big numbers and these things take time.”

Kempton acknowledged that it will still be a year before construction starts but said this is because the desired contractor, Angus McMillan Concrete, wasn’t available until early 2025.

“It’s a very specialised skill to be able to lay concrete in curves and make it smooth,” he said.

“We’ve got the best guys in New Zealand booked in.

“We’d rather wait for the right people to get the right job done.”

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Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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