Views on city park heard

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JA­NINE RANKIN

Putting the war mem­o­ries back into Me­mo­rial Park, in­clud­ing a 20-pound gun, is emerg­ing as the most di­vi­sive as­pect of the Palmer­ston North park’s pro­posed de­vel­op­ment.

More than 140 peo­ple have made sub­mis­sions on the plan, with about 50 of them putting a splash pad wa­ter play fea­ture at the top of their pri­or­ity list for im­prove­ments.

The pro­posed me­mo­rial theme was the least pop­u­lar, with more than 20 peo­ple giv­ing it the low­est rank.

Plan­ner Ja­son Pilk­ing­ton said it has been clear dur­ing com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions that wa­ter play and fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties and facilities were win­ners.

But there was also a strong case for honour­ing the park’s history as a war me­mo­rial, and us­ing the op­por­tu­nity to in­clude poppy mo­tifs, mu­rals and sto­ries of lo­cal he­roes, es­pe­cially women.

Sub­mit­ter Ben­jamin Foster said the mu­rals and other pro­posed fea­tures would pro­vide a friend­lier feel to the space as well as in­cor­po­rat­ing the me­mo­rial mes­sage.

Sub­mit­ter Ger­ard He­hir said the me­mo­rial that was more rel­e­vant today was the work­ers’ me­mo­rial over­look­ing the park from Fitzroy St.

‘‘In terms of the last 70 years, these are the sto­ries we need to highlight more.’’

Re­cently-re­tired PSA or­gan­iser John Shen­nan was keen for the work­ers’ me­mo­rial to be given a greater pro­file.

The duck pond was also a hot is­sue for sub­mit­ters, with nearly 30 peo­ple say­ing that clean­ing it up should be the top pri­or­ity.

Sev­eral sub­mit­ters said what the park needed most was a bit of main­te­nance and tidy­ing.

Other is­sues in­cluded ac­ces­si­ble play equip­ment, and up­grad­ing the sports field area, chang­ing rooms and toi­lets.

Im­prove­ments have al­ready been made to the skat­ing rink, and Manawatu Skat­ing Club mem­ber Lisa Thomas has asked that the de­vel­op­ment plan in­clude light­ing so it could be used into the evenings.

The de­vel­op­ment plan could see about $865,000 spent on im­prove­ments to the the 4.9-hectare park over the next six to 10 years.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/STUFF

More than 140 peo­ple have had their say on the plan to re­de­velop Me­mo­rial Park.

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