Alexandra Park gets a facelift

2017-03-08 06:02
PHOTO: suppliedEnvironmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson (right) at the handover of the newly refurbished Alexandra Park.

PHOTO: suppliedEnvironmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson (right) at the handover of the newly refurbished Alexandra Park.

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HUNDREDS of Msunduzi Municipality residents gathered to witness the official handover of the R12 million refurbished Alexandra Park last Friday.

Before the official handover of the new facilities to the public, Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson was given a tour of the park, which was established in 1860 and has showcased some of the city’s biggest events.

Thompson said the facelift of the park was carried out because the park forms part of the city’s history and serves as a meeting place for the community.

“Parks form a very important part of our political history. During the apartheid government, black people were prohibited from entering recreational spaces such as parks. I remember we would always pass by Alexandra Park but could not enter; it was a sad time. This is why we want to take care of these parks because we were not allowed to use them before.”

Thompson appealed to the community to take pride in and care for the newly revitalised facility.

“We want the park to remain in this condition so people can come here to relax and it can be a safe and popular recreational area. We don’t want to see school children sitting here during school hours or drug peddlers using this park for illegal activities. The municipality must ensure that it is kept in this condition and that it is safe for the community and our children to visit,” she said.

In 2015, it emerged that the park was fast becoming a place for young prostitutes during the day.

The newly upgraded park is designed to offer a tranquil retreat complemented by outdoor nodes to enable active living, and it will serve as a playground for residents of Msunduzi and the surrounding areas.

The new-look park boasts sections such as a children’s play area, the Percy Taylor Rockery, a people’s park, ablution facilities, fencing, pedestrian walkways, pergolas, paving, a chess amphitheatre and general landscaping.

Msunduzi Municipality Mayor Themba Njilo said the municipality hope that the newly revitalised park will return to its former glory and continue to host big events.

“The park is known for showcasing Art in the Park, one of the largest outdoor exhibitions in South Africa. It has also hosted Cars in the Park and a number of other events. We hope our residents will help us in maintaining it and ensuring it is kept in this state.”

Njilo said the project to revitalise the park was implemented using labour-intensive methods which resulted in new jobs, small business development and skills development opportunities being created.

“The municipality must ensure that it is kept in this condition and that it is safe for the community and our children to visit.”

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