Green ‘pocket park’ planned for city

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

A new ‘‘pocket park’’ will open in cen­tral Hast­ings be­fore the end of the year.

The park will be 10 me­tres wide and 30 me­tres long, act­ing as a small city green space and pedes­trian con­nec­tion be­tween Here­taunga Street and the Queen Street West car park.

The land­scap­ing plan is still at the con­cept stage. How­ever, it will in­clude seat­ing ar­eas, gar­dens, shel­ter and art work.

The space at 325 Here­taunga Street is cur­rently a build­ing oc­cu­pied by Buy4Less, and pre­vi­ously State In­sur­ance, but it was pur­chased by Hast­ings District Coun­cil this month.

Act­ing Mayor San­dra Ha­zle­hurst said it was the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to build con­nec­tions in the area, beau­tify the block and pro­vide a pub­lic space.

‘‘We have a strat­egy that is about mak­ing our city as at­trac­tive and vi­brant as we can,’’ she said. ‘‘Projects like this one, which im­prove ac­cess and con­nec­tiv­ity, are a key part of that.’’

The build­ing will be de­mol­ished, but with key ar­chi­tec­tural features re­tained where pos­si­ble, po­ten­tially in­clud­ing the art deco fa­cade.

Coun­cil­lor Da­mon Har­vey said the pocket park had a lot of pos­si­bil­i­ties. ‘‘As well as be­ing a park to re­lax in it will give us an­other cre­ative space, lend­ing it­self to mini events and mu­sic.’’

The in­tro­duc­tion of pocket parks into the cen­tral city was first mooted in 2013, as part of The Hast­ings City Cen­tre Strat­egy. It also en­cour­aged the coun­cil to de­velop pedes­trian con­nec­tions be­tween off-street park­ing ar­eas and the shop­ping precinct.

The bud­get for the project is $1,030,000, in­clud­ing pur­chase and devel­op­ment.

Act­ing mayor San­dra Ha­zle­hurst and coun­cil­lor Da­mon Har­vey out­side the build­ing which will be de­mol­ished to cre­ate the green space.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the green space.

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