The central park which houses Whangarei's war memorial will get a makeover in the next few months, opening it up to surrounding streets and improving its landscaping and lighting.
Laurie Hall Park's uninviting and obscured Bank St entrance will be widened with new steps echoing the style of the district's war memorial, which was relocated to the park in 2015.
Whangarei District Council landscape architect Tracey Moore said the new dry stone walls at the Bank St pedestrian entrance would connect the contemporary and more historic features.
"I'm designing the steps down from Bank St to be the same as the ones at the memorial with flame-finished and honed granite on the sides and the black handrail," Ms Moore said.
"It's a simple design but will introduce elements of the war memorial at the park entrance, integrating the old with the new."
Lighting near Bank St would also be upgraded. Trees - including two exotic conifers, two phoenix palms and four cherry trees - would be removed.
"The trees to be removed would allow for new, wider paths, ensure people felt safe because of clear sight-lines into and out of the park, and would allow for new planting," Ms Moore said.
The council was also planning to this year repair the broken waterfall feature.
Some of the trees would be replaced with "succession" trees next autumn.
WDC parks technical officer Stuart Jackson said there had been unease about the removal of some mature trees at Mander Park several years ago, but this was a far smaller group of trees.
He said it was necessary to aim for age diversity among the trees or they all "over-mature" at the same time.
"We also receive regular feedback now, that Mander Park seems much more open and welcoming, while still retaining shade from our new trees," he said.
Laurie Hall Park is named after Whangarei Borough Council's former town clerk, who died in 1951.