It’s been talked about for years and is presently considered Penrith Council’s number one strategic priority, but doubts about City Park are still being voiced at the eleventh hour.
During Council’s latest Ordinary Meeting – where a $1.58 million tender was awarded to bulldoze seven buildings and remediate the soil to make way for the park – Councillor Kevin Crameri again questioned the millions being poured into the project, contending the money could be better spent fixing roads.
“The amount of millions of dollars that we have spent buying all of these buildings that we are going to demolish, the amount of rent we’re going to now no longer get… I believe we are spending a lot of money and we are going to be in severe debt to try and fix our roads in the next few years,” he said.
However, Councillor Ross Fowler predicted the $12 million, 7,000 sqm park, to be established on the corner of Henry and Station streets, Penrith would be “iconic”.
“A central park, a place where people can get out and move and relax, I think is essential,” he said.
“And if you look at any city around the world, a central park is really a focal point for that community.”
Deputy Mayor Tricia Hitchen agreed.
“We have to have a heart, we have to have somewhere where the community can come together and celebrate things like the Panthers’ Grand Final,” she said.
“Memory Park is not big enough, the Triangle Park is good for the kids, but we really need somewhere where all our community can come together.”
Councillor John Thain hoped the original strategy – which included a “significant building” on the edge of the park to activate the area – would be realised.
This was in addition to Council’s plans to redevelop the nearby former Council Chambers site.
“You need more people coming into it, you don’t want to it be a white elephant,” Cr Thain said.
Council’s redevelopment of 131 Henry Street, which sits opposite City Park, aims to deliver 8,000 sqm of A-grade commercial space.
City Park is expected to be completed in early 2023.
The Development Application for 131 Henry Street is scheduled to be lodged later this year.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.