Melbourne is set to open new parks on the city’s west and north sides, including a “urban park” on the block that was previously used by the police station and a new “public realm” on Prince St.
The $3.5 billion park, which will be the first in Melbourne’s history, will include a tennis courts, green space, cafes, outdoor entertainment areas, community gardens, an “interchange area” for pedestrians, and a “walkway” to link the parks.
The park will be open for use from March 25.
It comes after the city was forced to cut its budget for parks and recreation, with the city planning to cut a further $300 million from the capital budget next year.
Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has said she wants the parks and public spaces to be seen as a priority rather than just “a place for people to hang out”.
Ms Scaffidis said the city would not be taking any time off work ahead of the park opening.
“We’ve got to start thinking about how to spend the money that we have in terms of parks and recreational facilities in the city of Melbourne, because this is a city of people and it’s a city that’s really important for people and I think the more people that come into the city, the more it’s going to be able to provide a more vibrant city,” she said.
“It’s really about how we’re going to spend it and I hope it’s not a situation where we’re just spending money and hoping that people don’t notice.”
The parks and community spaces will be on the ground floor of the former police station, where police officers would sit during the day and use their mobile phones to send text messages and emails.
“There’s going be a big public space, a community space that’s going not only open up the park, but also to bring in more of a sense of community,” she told ABC News Breakfast.
“People can actually sit down and have their own spaces, they can do their own things.”
And if you can’t, if you’re just sitting at the desk and just having a chat, I think that’s fine, but we’re also hoping that this is an opportunity to engage people and to make people feel comfortable, and I know people will be really happy to have a space like this, which is really the centrepiece of what the city is about.
“The park, as part of a multi-use, mixed-use development, will feature a new café and outdoor entertainment area.
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