Sunday, February 25, 2024

Vision for Newcastle park to include nod to the past

City of Newcastle Council has unveiled a new vision for Hamilton’s historic Gregson Park as part of the development of a draft masterplan.

Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said community feedback in 2020 had helped shape the future of the much-loved park.

“We asked our community to tell us their aspirations for Gregson Park, as well as their memories from days gone by to help guide the way the park is managed and renewed into the future,” Lord Mayor Nelmes said.

“The valuable feedback we received has informed a masterplan for the renewal of Gregson Park that ensures the community’s needs and wants are reflected in future improvements.

“We heard that the community wants to see the incorporation of Aboriginal culture, more planting of native species, an upgrade of amenities, improvements to the playspace, creation of spaces for the community to come together, provision for active recreation, and the retention of the existing heritage elements and much-loved fig trees.”

The new masterplan for Gregson Park, which showcases three key components including a new playspace, community hub on the former bowling green and multi-sports activity hub, aims to celebrate the existing heritage of the site and Awabakal culture, while meeting the recreational needs of the local community, she said.

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Local history writer, Ruth Cotton, welcomed the exciting plans for the inner-city park which is steeped in history.

“Gregson Park continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Novocastrians and I’m really pleased that the heritage of the park will be retained into the future. I have no doubt that as the plans come to fruition, Gregson Park will remain a historic gem that continues to pay homage to its past.” Ms Cotton said.

The vision for Gregson Park shows a larger inclusive playspace in its existing location, new community shelter on the former bowling club site, more shaded seating areas, potential for community gardens and kiosk, resurfaced tennis courts, additional active recreation facilities and upgraded amenities.

It also proposes the realignment of some pathways, opportunities for a stormwater retention tank and removal of the glasshouse building subject to heritage assessment.

Lord Mayor Nelmes said Gregson Park also has great potential as an event space, due to the connection through the local area and proximity to the business district in Beaumont Street. The southern area of the park and new shelter will provide opportunities for markets, community festivals, and activations through the year, she said.

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The Masterplan for the site is intended to be implemented across a 10-year period with short-term and long-term priorities.

Short-term priorities earmarked for implementation within five years include the playspace, realigned paths, plantings and community shelter. Work on the playspace featuring nature play, water play and small yarning circle, will start in 2022 under the city’s annual asset renewal program.

Long-term priorities include the active recreation area, community gardens and stormwater retention tank.

To enable the realisation of the intent and vision of the Gregson Park Masterplan, amendments to the Heritage Places Plan of Management for Gregson Park are also being prepared, Council said in a statement.

Council will consider a report to place the draft Gregson Park Masterplan, along with amendments to the Heritage Places Plan of Management for Gregson Park, on public exhibition in late-August.

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