Million-dollar makeover for Myers Park
One of Auckland's oldest inner-city parks, Myers Park, is set to undergo a million-dollar makeover as the central city adapts to deal with increasing numbers of young families. The space will be transformed into a mega children's play area for about 2000 children, with more rubbish bins, picnic tables, safe and clean toilets, and lighting and surveillance to improve security. The historic caretaker's cottage will also be restored. Funding for the upgrade of the park will come from the Long Term Plan budget and is expected to cost between $1million to $2m. If given the green light, the funding will be signed off by the council on June 28 and the upgrade could begin by the end of the year.
Barbara Holloway, from the Karangahape Rd Business Association, said there had been a push for an upgrade of the park for at least five years. "We're obviously very thrilled and excited. We're also very impressed with the level of support the Waitemata Local Board has given the project. "It's gradually come to the fore. The Waitemata Local Board has come on board and they have made Myers Park one of their key priorities because they have a major commitment to heritage and open spaces in the CBD.''
The vision for Myers Park is for it to become a "destination" and to achieve that, the upgrade will prioritise safety, access and maintenance. The plan will also improve the thoroughfare from St Kevin's Arcade on Karangahape Rd to the Aotea underpass. Signs and accessibility for those with limited mobility will also be addressed. Equipping the park's playground with swings, slides and play space for around 2000 children will honour the park's original vision as a children's playground when it was built in 1915. Holloway said the playground was a welcome addition and would ensure the park is well-used by the large number young families moving into the city.
Currently, the park is unkempt and has a significant overhang of foliage, which "creates very poor perceptions of safety and provides spaces for anti-social behaviour to take place", according to the council's development plans. "It's got very overgrown so what that means is that people can sit in the day and drink by hiding under the trees. So they need to majorly prune the park so that it feels clear and open, which is how it used to be,'' Holloway said.
In the council's plan for the park it states that enforcing a liquor ban, bringing more "eyes" to the park and maintaining clear access will help inner-city workers and residents enjoy the open space.