New city pocket park goes ahead

Great space: The width of the property makes it ideal for a city pocket park, and it links the city centre with an off-street car park. Councillor Damon Harvey and Acting Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst announced the project this week.
Early days: A design for the pocket park is yet to be formalised but the early concept drawings show just how pretty it can be.

A new pocket park will pop up in our city before the end of the year. The new green space will also act as a pedestrian connection between Heretaunga St and the Queen St West car park.

The site is 10 metres wide and 30 metres long, which means there is ample space to design a perfect inner city green space. The landscaping plan is still at the concept stage, however it will include seating areas, gardens, shelter and art work.

The park will be in the space currently occupied by Buy4Less and previously State Insurance, at 325 Heretaunga St West.

Hastings District Council purchased the property this month. “It is a perfect opportunity that builds important connections, beautifies the 300 Block, and provides a lovely space to sit and enjoy lunch,” said Acting Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst. 

“We have a strategy that is about making our city as attractive and vibrant as we can – the real heart of our district. Projects like this one, which improve access and connectivity, are a key part of that strategy.”

The building will be demolished, but with key architectural features retained where possible; potentially the art deco façade.

The chairman of Council’s Economic Development and Urban Affairs Committee, Councillor Damon Harvey, said the pocket park could be used a number of ways. “It creates another space with lots of possibilities. As well as being a park to relax in it will give us another creative space, lending itself to mini events and music.”

The introduction of pocket parks into the central city was first mooted in 2013, as part of The Hastings City Centre Strategy.  That strategy also required Council, where possible, to develop pedestrian connections between off-street parking areas and the shopping precinct. The strategy acknowledged that opportunities to fulfil these objectives would only come about if property owners of suitable buildings and land were to offer them to market. In this case the shop was in an excellent position – in the middle of the block and adjacent to an off-street car park.

The budget for the project is $1,030,000, including purchase and development.