City invests in playground renewal as families find fun closer to home
City of Newcastle will spend $8.2 million in parks, playgrounds and sporting fields this year as COVID-19 forces families to increasingly look to their own neighbourhoods for places to exercise or play with the kids.
Today marks the start of Local Government Week (3-9 August), with this year’s theme, ‘Councils Do’, reflecting the broad range of activities councils undertake to support their local communities and proactively respond to the challenges they face.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the City is prioritising building new infrastructure as part of its response to the devastating impact of COVID-19, with a record $116 million capital works program.
“Councils are the hub of their communities, responsible for everything from libraries, galleries, museums and community events, to childcare centres, development assessments, environmental maintenance and even cemeteries,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our neighbourhood parks and open spaces are vital city infrastructure, and during the past five years we have delivered approximately $6.5 million in new and upgraded playgrounds across our city and suburbs, including the new Brickworks Park and Carrington Street Reserve playgrounds in Wallsend.
“In 2020/21 we will continue this investment in locations such as Novocastrian Park in New Lambton, Gross Street Reserve at Tighes Hill, King Edward Park in Cooks Hill and Dangar Park in Mayfield.
“We’re also planning a new active hub in Wallsend, while also completing the significant upgrade to Stevenson Park in Mayfield West.”
Up to four of Newcastle’s 117 playgrounds are replaced each year as part of the City’s asset renewal works program. Work on the just completed playground at Brickworks Park in Wallsend included a new all-abilities carousel, boulder climb, nest swing, rope ladder, slide and more, while the Carrington Street Reserve playground has been upgraded to include a new plank walk, suspension bridge, double slide, tube net and other activities.
“Local communities love their local playgrounds, and they’re often a neighbourhood hub for residents to meet and come together,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This was especially noticeable under the COVID-19 restrictions, which challenged us as a community to look closer to home for exercise and recreation.
“Our playground renewal program is a great example of how City of Newcastle goes far beyond the traditional services of ‘roads, rates and rubbish’ to create a fantastic place to live, promote a healthy economy and build our community.”