Town square project nears completion

By Hayley Gastmeier -
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A bird's eye view of the new town centre which is under construction. Photo / Wairarapa Aerial Imaging Ltd
A bird's eye view of the new town centre which is under construction. Photo / Wairarapa Aerial Imaging Ltd

The Featherston community will soon have a new central meeting hub, with the town square set to be complete by the end of this month.

The South Wairarapa District Council-run project, with a price tag of $657,000, has long been awaited by the township with construction of the centre originally scheduled to be finished in February.

The town square will feature an open-air amphitheatre, an artist's quarters, powered sites for mobile food outlets, a boardwalk, and a retail space.

The amphitheatre will have a sloping grass lawn and a sunken courtyard.

South Wairarapa district councillor Colin Olds said the square would be "a big asset" to the town.

"It's going to make a huge difference to the centre of Featherston and it will enhance the area beautifully."

He said the square would be a feature that would attract people passing through to stop in the town.

"I can see people stopping there and eating and having their cup of coffee."

Mr Olds said contractors were on target with completing the project within the budget and time-frame, providing weather conditions were favourable.

SWDC have had the block of land in between the town square project and the Trust House carpark on the market for some time.

Mr Olds said there had been "recent interest" in the site, which SWDC hopes will be redeveloped to complement the new town centre.

"Council will be looking very closely at the proposals... and making sure it fits within the aspect of the town centre and its surrounds."

An opening ceremony would be arranged once the square was completed, Mr Olds said.

The town square development follows the council's 2014 consultation with residents as to how it could develop the area between Fitzherbert and Fox streets.

The empty site, where Chung's Supermarket was demolished in 2010, had been dubbed "the shingle pit" by some of the town's residents after having been vacant for so long.

For the next two weeks the construction of the amphitheatre stone walls and the granite-set steps will be finished, along with the end pillars and planter boxes.

The east side pergola and deck will be erected over the next week or two and the remaining granite-set slabs will be placed.

SWDC expects to start planting work in August.

A sculpture to be made by Paul Dibble, proposed by the Featherston Camp Memorial Trust and to mark the national significance of Featherston Military Training Camp, will be located in the new town square precinct.

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