City centre development programme lead Alan Gray and Nelson mayor Rachel Reese check out the pump track at the new pop-up park on Halifax St. Photo: Kate Russell.

Park pops up for spring

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A new place to play in the city centre will be popping up on Halifax St by the end of the month.

With its own 65m loop pump track, solar-lit basketball half-court, table tennis table and imagination playground with 106 foam blocks, the park is set to draw more youngsters into the city centre.

“We found that very few kids are in town doing things, so we wanted to think about what we could do for the under-fives, older children and the young at heart,” says Nelson City Council’s city centre development programme lead, Alan Gray.

“Recordings of people in the city centre last winter and summer showed that less than two percent of registered activities were children at play.”

The park is a collaboration between Council and Wakatū Incorporation, which owns the space.

Council spent $225k on the relocatable equipment and a further $113k for site preparation and ground treatments.

The park is funded from existing city development budgets, partly derived from car-parking fees. It will also feature some more informal social areas with picnic tables and youth hammocks for people to use near the river edge.

A new doorway leading into the children’s area of the Elma Turner Library will also be constructed in the next couple of months.

“You’ll be able to walk through and check out basketballs with your library card, as well as table tennis paddles and balls,” says Alan.

Shade structures will be put in, as well as trees in planter boxes and umbrellas for picnic tables.

“We’ll monitor it over the summer. If more shade needs to be brought in, we can look at some options.”

Nelson mayor Rachel Reese says they’ve had “lots of interest” in the project.

“We’re really appreciative of Wakatū Incorporation for partnering with us. We’ve got the arrangement for at least two years and then we’ll be starting to look at what the other development options are for this area.”

She says the site is “perfect” for a play space.

“This is really responding to that desire for more active spaces for young children. The way this has been designed in three zones gives opportunities for all ages.”

Alan says contractors are hoping that most of the installation will be finished by the end of this week.

“The bulk of it’s in, but the timing of it opening is probably contingent on a few things, but it’ll be within the next couple of weeks.”