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The wheels are turning for new Greytown park

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Greytown’s wheels park is finally on a roll, with one last push for community feedback before designs are settled and construction can begin.

In its Long Term Plan – adopted on June 30 – South Wairarapa District Council included the decision to develop a new play space on the corner of Pierce and Cotter Sts.

The $1 million had been allocated in the LTP to get the project started, with further funding needed to complete the project.

The park would have no impact on rates, with funding coming from reserve contributions paid by developers when subdividing land.

Council amenities manager Bryce Neems said the timeframe for construction depended on the availability of workers.

“It would be great to get a shovel turned prior to Christmas, but tradespeople are hard to find,” Neems said.

A Greytown wheels park had been in the works for more than 25 years, with many different residents taking up the mantle to bring the concept to life.

The park’s most recent proponent, Sid Kempton, said Greytown ward councillors had helped to get it over the line.

“It got a unanimous vote from all councillors – that’s pretty impressive … that gives me the confidence that they were fully informed, and they understood the project.”

Councillor Alistair Plimmer said the wheels park had been a long time coming.

In his former role as chairman of the Greytown School board of trustees, Plimmer had heard repeated calls for more facilities for children in the town.

“When I decided to stand for council, I made it very clear that it would be one of my top priorities to remedy the lack of facilities in Greytown for kids.

“At the same time, Sid was working very hard on that, and everything came together at the right time.

“It’s been a real effort by Sid and his predecessors who have pushed this.”

Concept plans for the Greytown Wheels Park on the corner of Pierce and Cotter Sts. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Since the adoption of the LTP, Kempton had been working with Rich Landscapes director Richard Smith to create concept plans for the park.

Smith, a skater for more than 23 years, had been responsible for about 70 skate and wheels parks across New Zealand to date, with 12 more in the pipeline.

In the process of designing the Greytown Wheels Park, Smith had met with Kempton and a group of residents.

“We discussed the overall project and opportunities with the site and things surrounding it,” Smith said. “I then took that away and brought back a design brief to Sid so we could review and accept it.”

Kempton said Smith had balanced the wishes of the community with his own expertise.

“That must be hard to do when you’ve got 50 people providing some very detailed feedback in some instances, and some general comments of ‘love it’ in other instances.”

Initial feedback before the adoption of the LTP had suggested that people did not want a replica of Wairarapa’s existing parks.

“The feedback was, don’t just build us another playground, because we already have a playground in Greytown … What we don’t have is a skate park or a wheels park. Give us that first,” Kempton said.

As well as a skating area, the designs featured a basketball half court, a playground suitable for teenagers, and a pump track for bicycles around the edge of the park.

The designs also incorporated elements of Greytown’s history, such as its reputation in the 1950s and 1960s as the ‘fruit bowl’ of New Zealand’s. Some platforms within the skate park would be shaped to look like apples.

The council would hold a public consultation period of two to three weeks, and would also consult with the Papawai Marae community on the plans.

After the consultation process, Smith and his team could start on 3D models of the park, and more detailed working drawings.

The council would then start the process of tendering the project for construction.

The concept plans are available to view in the foyer of the Greytown Town Hall.

The council would also display the plans on social media and at all town libraries.

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