Full steam ahead

2016-05-10 06:00
Ryan Matthews from The Friends of Choo Choo Park in Belvedere Road, Claremont – with the new face of the Choo Choo – with sisters Wi-Aam, Zayyan and Radiyah Isaacs enjoying the “ride”. PHOTO: gary van dyk

Ryan Matthews from The Friends of Choo Choo Park in Belvedere Road, Claremont – with the new face of the Choo Choo – with sisters Wi-Aam, Zayyan and Radiyah Isaacs enjoying the “ride”. PHOTO: gary van dyk

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The landmark Choo Choo Park in Belvedere Road is looking brighter than ever, thanks to some special friends.

Last year some residents in the area noticed that the famous “Choo Choo” in the park was looking a bit run down and rusted and formed the Friends of Choo Choo Park.

Ryan Matthews from the group says they formed the organisation with a view to working alongside City Parks to improve the look and feel of the park.

“One of the first projects we undertook was the refurbishment of the Choo Choo which was looking quite sad,” he says.

“The locomotive received a thorough paint strip with sandblasting, was primed and overcoated with industrial quality paint.

“Not only does it look better but it should preserve the life of the train for longer than if left exposed to the elements.”

This project was carried out with help from ProPaint, with the paint donated by Stoncor, and generous donations from Belvedere Square management and Col’cacchio in Belvedere Square.

“For a while we also had the benefit of a gardener from Fundi, sponsored by Re-max to tidy up the beds. Ward councillor Matthew Kempthorne has also met with us, where we discussed our thoughts for the park,” he says.

“From his ward allocation he sponsored the installation of rubber mat surfaces beneath the merry-go-round and joy wheel.”

Matthews also explained that City Parks have also played their part in the restoration.

“They recently gave all the play equipment a new lick of paint, together with repairing the slide,” he says.

Over the last year the increased numbers of users of the park has been notable and it’s lovely to see the park full of families and kids’ parties on the weekends, Matthews says. “We believe that with more people in the park there will be less anti-social behaviour. We are happy with the progress made in the park over the last year but would like to see the momentum continue.

“During winter we would like to see some efforts at improving the drainage of the park since it typically is waterlogged for a number of months when the rains arrive. We also hope to host some events in the park where it could act as a meeting point for the local community.”

V The Friends of Choo Choo Park will be hosting their AGM on Thursday (12 May) at the St Stephens Church on Belvedere Road (access from Ranelagh Road) starting at 19:30. Contact Matthews on 079 464 6907.

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