Park makeover a winner
ANYONE who has driven past Nesbitt Park in South Lismore during the past month or so would have noticed the many families playing on the swings or throwing snags on the barbie.
It never used to be like this, remembers mother-of-three Tracy Foster, who proudly says she was born and bred in the suburb.
“There was nothing here, except a swing and slide in one small corner that was removed years ago because of rust,” she said yesterday, as her children tugged on her clothes eager for a ride on the new flying fox.
“We're very happy. It was a long time coming, but it's here now.”
Earlier, Tracy and husband Alan and children Jessie, 10, Jack, 7, and Ned, 6, had planted a tree as part of the celebrations to mark the completion of the first stage of the park's redevelopment.
After work costing $398,000 and funded by the federal government and Lismore City Council, the now-popular park boasts a playground, a covered barbecue area, new practice cricket cages, seating and a half-basketball court.
Ned was eager to point out that the flying fox and trampoline were his favourites.
“We are also going to the (remote car) track in a fortnight,” he said with unbridled excitement, beaming at his dad.
Mr Foster, who works for the council's parks division, worked with his community over five years to advise the council about what residents wanted for their park.
“When our kids were little I started to look around and there was no park for them to play and grow up in,” he said. “It's taken about five years but here we are today at its opening.”
Officiating at yesterday's celebrations marking the upgrade, Lismore City mayor Jenny Dowell paid tribute to the unique community spirit among South Lismore residents, often regarded as living on the “wrong” side of the river.
“This has been a long-neglected area of our community,” she said.
“Nesbitt Park has had quite a make-over over the past two years and the resulting improvements and facilities are all thanks to the input from the local community.
“There are other stages of this park to come, but I think we have used the funds wisely – it's meeting a great need. It's very popular and is a real family park.”
Unfortunately, stage two, which was to include a cycle path around the park to provide children with a safe place to ride their bikes, was deferred in April due to the council's budget constraints.
Yesterday Cr Dowell could not say when stage two would begin, but promised it was still on the council agenda when it could find the money.