The first two park upgrades in Rotorua District Council’s (RDC) Youth Spaces project will be completed at the end of the month.
The new spaces, which include skateboarding facilities, are expected to be complete at Fordlands’ Wrigley Rd Reserve and Western Heights’ Park Rd Reserve by Tuesday 31 January, with official openings taking place in February. Fordlands’ skating facilities include a step-up, drops, ledges, handrails, and banks; while Western Heights’ facilities include joined mini ramps, a spine feature, and large 6-stair drop with handrail.
Both parks have two basketball half-courts, a netball court, fields and skatepark facilities. The Fordlands park also has BMX dirt mounds.
RDC youth projects officer Jill Campbell says the parks have exceeded expectations and she is excited that the two communities have had such valuable and high quality investment in their areas.
“Children’s playgrounds have been incorporated into the spaces to give them a ‘whanau feel’. Both sites are also in close proximity to schools and will be available for schools to use as an extension of their own amenities.
“We’ve involved young people, local skaters and community associations throughout the entire process, so not only do we have fantastic parks with facilities that tick all the right boxes, but we’ve also developed some great partnerships.”
Additional funding of $307,000 has also been received from SPARC and the Ministry of Youth Development to run sport and recreation programmes on the sites for the next three years.
The Youth Spaces project is a result of submissions made to the council’s draft Ten Year Plan by young people from Koutu, Fordlands and Western Heights to counteract issues facing young people in each of the communities, including lack of activities, boredom, alcohol, drugs, and gang related problems.
The project has cost a total of $300,000 to date and has been funded from budgets allocated in the council’s current Ten Year Plan. An additional $20,000 has also been received from Rotorua Trust for safety lighting at the two spaces.