The next stage of improvements at Rotorua's geothermal Kuirau Park have begun.

Work is scheduled to take about two months and will include footpath improvements, garden renewals, resurfacing of the main foot pool and construction of a new shelter.

It is the second stage of the Boulevard Gardens project, which is part of the Rotorua Lakes Council's wider strategy to upgrade the park, improving connections with the inner city and the Aquatic Centre.

The park's redevelopment is a key project in the council's 2015-2025 long-term plan with the aim to improve and encourage greater use of one of the city's premier open spaces.

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Areas of the park, including foot pools, will be closed to the public for periods of time during the next two months and people are asked to stay clear of fenced off areas.

The Boulevard Gardens concept is for a series of five feature gardens connected by a combined public walkway and cycle path, linking key attractions and activities within the unique geothermal reserve. The project is supported by a $275,000 grant from the Francis Moss Boord Trust.

Stage one saw construction of the first part of the boulevard, which runs past the five gardens.

It's a contemporary New Zealand garden with Rotorua-specific native vegetation, an interactive scent garden, a hosta garden for spring and summer, and climbing gardens with vertical structures.

Work on the Boulevard Gardens project started a year ago, thanks to the Francis Moss

Boord Trust grant and with support from Firth, which came on board to provide concrete and paving products.

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The park has been progressively opened up during the past 18 months to enhance the area and increase safety with removal of scrub areas, improved lighting by the footpools and along Kuirau Rd and the establishment of new pathways. The Kuirau Rd side of the park is earmarked for further work to open up the area.

Work being done during the next two months includes;
· Continuation of Green Corridor/boulevard, through the playground to cobbled carpark
· Removal of old cobbles between the building and the lake edge, tidying up the lake edge and re-concreting the area
· Revamping of No.1 foot pool surface which includes removing tiles and re-plastering. This will see the No.1 foot pool closed during April while the two smaller foot pools remain open
· Upgrade and realignment of footpaths that come off the boulevard extension
· Upgrade and realignment of footpaths between Lake Timaru and Ranolf St
· Drains installed in various areas to reduce ponding along the boulevard
· Gardens at No.1 foot pool will be removed, the area grassed and picnic tables added
· Additional facilities like picnic tables and seating to be added along boulevard
· Planting of native New Zealand plants around and south of the barbecue area
· Planting of trees that attract birds on the Ranolf St side of the barbecue area