Pater­son Park, where a river runs through it

The Star Early Edition - - METROWATCH - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

THE Pater­son Park precinct is rapidly tak­ing shape and much has al­ready been done to im­prove the de­clin­ing area, es­pe­cially the park, which was derelict.

And, in what is be­lieved to be the first in South Africa, stormwa­ter col­lected from the wa­ter­fall in The Wilds, which, in turn, comes from the Belle­vue/Ob­ser­va­tory ar­eas, and run­ning un­der­ground for more than 80 years un­der con­crete, has been turned into a “river” in the precinct to cre­ate a pond called the Cel­e­bra­tion Pond.

This then be­comes a stream run­ning un­der­ground again though Nor­wood and Or­chards, join­ing a stream on the Houghton Golf Course and even­tu­ally end­ing up in the Sand­spruit River.

“The wa­ter has been ‘sun­lighted’ for the first time in years and the City of Joburg, be­cause of the new Louis Botha Av­enue Rea Vaya and cor­ri­dor of free­dom, set aside funds to cre­ate the walk­way from Louis Botha Av­enue through to the park which is be­ing up­graded.

“The walk­way is also a short-cut through the park to Nor­wood on the path­way through the park,” said architect Maria Layper­son who has also been in­volved in many town plan­ning is­sues.

The open­ing up of the “river” will also pre­vent flood­ing. It means that flood­ing wa­ter can spill into the park­land, at the same time ir­ri­gate the sur­round­ing park­land in­stead of shoot­ing through at great speed through the chan­nelised con­crete pipes, she said.

“Of­fi­cially, it is not a river be­cause it is drainage wa­ter, but the wa­ter is now fol­low­ing its nat­u­ral course.”

Twelve years ago, the Pater­son Park Recre­ation Cen­tre started de­clin­ing be­cause of dwin­dling vis­i­tor/ user num­bers and a gym, which took over the park be­fore go­ing bank­rupt.

Since then, the park and some of its precincts have slowly slid into de­cline.

Now, be­cause of the con­struc­tion of the Rea Vaya and plans to build mul­ti­storey, the area is set to be re­vi­talised.

A chil­dren’s play­ground and out­door gym equip­ment have al­ready been in­stalled along the path­way.

“It is al­ready look­ing beau­ti­ful. Peo­ple can en­joy a walk through the park area while walk­ing. The city has cre­ated a whole new area which is wel­comed be­cause there will be many more peo­ple in the precinct with the im­mi­nent build­ing of high-rise hous­ing in the Pater­son precinct,” she said.

The pool in the park has been filled in and made part of the park.

The new recre­ation cen­tre will of­fer res­i­dents many fa­cil­i­ties.

The old bowl­ing club premises, which are stand­ing empty, will probably be con­verted into a restau­rant.

“All round, it is a very good de­vel­op­ment for the whole area,” said Layper­son.

The Pik­itup de­pot build­ing, which is in the precinct and has been stand­ing empty for years, is to be con­verted into mixed-use de­vel­op­ment.

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