His­toric park set for a spruce-up

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - PAULA HULBURT

For more than a cen­tury, its elaborate iron gates have wel­comed peo­ple into the man­i­cured gar­dens be­yond.

Named af­ter the man whose be­quest made it pos­si­ble, Pol­lard Park in Blen­heim is one of the re­gion’s most his­toric re­serves.

Work started on Thurs­day to give it a fresh look. As part of the re­vamp, a new en­trance­way will see the land­mark gates moved.

A spokes­woman from Marl­bor­ough Dis­trict Coun­cil says the $488,539 project will take around six weeks. The park will only be ac­ces­si­ble through the golf club en­trance while the work is un­der way.

‘‘The old gates and plaques will be re­moved but they will be re­tained and used else­where within the park.

‘‘The main en­try is be­ing re­aligned with Curry St to en­able bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity with State High­way 6.

‘‘The project is not be­ing car­ried out just to ac­com­mo­date cruise ship pas­sen­gers. How­ever, some of the ex­ist­ing car parks on Parker St will be re­designed to in­cor­po­rate a bus park,’’ she says.

In 1914, Wil­liam Pol­lard do­nated $4000 to Blen­heim Bor­ough Coun­cil to en­able them to buy an area of land from Water­lea Farm to es­tab­lish a park.

Pol­lard, the then owner of the Delta Sheep Sta­tion in the Wai­hopai Val­ley, also left more money to the coun­cil in his will and Water­lea Park was re­named in his hon­our.

The Parker St park is a pop­u­lar at­trac­tion for vis­i­tors and tourists alike. The 24.6 ha site in­cludes wooded park­land, a stream, golf course, play park, rose gar­dens, ten­nis courts and path­ways.

In 1937, corona­tion acorns from the royal park sur­round­ing Wind­sor Cas­tle in Eng­land were planted to com­mem­o­rate the corona­tion of King Ge­orge VI.

‘‘The re­vamp aims to im­prove traf­fic and pedes­trian safety through new paths and land­scap­ing to up­grade and mod­ernise the en­trance. A bus stop will also be added out­side the park.

‘‘The work should re­sult in min­i­mal traf­fic dis­rup­tion and be com­pleted dur­ing win­ter, be­fore the park be­comes busier in the spring.

‘‘The cur­rent main en­trance on Parker St will not be ac­ces­si­ble once the project is complete,’’ says the spokes­woman.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

The his­toric gates at Pol­lard Park will be re­moved and used else­where as part of an up­grade to the en­trance.

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