Aro Park’s new vibe after three-month makeover
ARO Valley residents are reclaiming their park after three months of digging, hammering and concreting.
What was previously considered a dodgy part of town is now a popular spot for those looking to relax in the sun, or the shaded picnic area where they can enjoy fish ‘n chips bought across the road.
“It’s definitely given the place a really positive vibe,” says Aro St resident Justine Clifton.
Following the introduction of a liquor ban in July – prohibiting drinking on Aro Street – Wellington City Council is aiming to make the park more pedestrian-friendly.
The well-worn muddy route across the grass was replaced with a new gravel path, laid on the northern side of the park, extending the grass area.
New topsoil was added to improve drainage, aiming to make the grass less boggy in wet weather. A large sump was installed in the road near the shops to help prevent flooding, and the footpaths were resealed.
Changes to the main entrance include the installation of removable steel bollards to prevent vehicle access to the area adjacent to the Aro Valley Community Centre and preschool.
A large new timber and steel planter box has been installed along the entranceway next to the fence, though thieves who took timber capping from the work site have delayed the completion of this project.
Urban designer Peter Kundycki says he is happy with the results, especially considering he was working within an “incredibly little budget”.
A core staff of five worked on the park with machinery and added expertise brought in as needed.
The transformation of the park is a part of a $400,000 upgrade to Aro Valley.
Wellington City Council has divided this to include footpath works $75,000, traffic safety $75,000, and public space improvements $250,000, the majority of which was spent on the park.
Vandalism has been an issue in the park, Mr Kundycki says, with vandals “dismantling the security fence and tipping over porta loos, breaking bottles…”
He said people had used the porta-loo signs as javelins and a television set was impaled over the drinking fountain.
Graffiti was evident recently on the new seating, machinery and the park’s trees, though seats have now been covered in timber.
Mr Kundycki says in the final stages of completion the grass was growing slower than he hoped because of pigeons eating the grass seeds. A repellent used to deter birds was ineffective because “pigeons have a different digestive system”.
The last major upgrade to the park was in the 1970s.