Kerikeri youth are set to get a new skatepark and full-sized basketball court as part of major Government investment into the Kerikeri Domain.
New and enhanced entrances, a new playground and wider perimeter path, fresh landscaping and upgrades to lighting are also on the cards under plans to revitalise Kerikeri's central park, which were unveiled at a community meeting and barbecue on February 20.
Kiwi skateboarding legend Dave Crabb's Bay of Islands company, Circle D Construction, has been engaged to design the new skatepark.
Crabb, who designed and built the current skatepark some 20 years ago, said the new facility would be brought up to scratch with today's standards.
"Skateboarding has changed a lot in the last 20 years and is now an Olympic sport. The concrete will be new and of better quality which will make it safer.
"The design will be more of a flow park which will work for the skate kids, the scooter kids and be like a stepping stone for progression for people to go to the next level.
"The kids will love it.
"It's such an asset for youth especially as there's not a lot of other facilities for them in Kerikeri."
The Government announced last July that it would award $3 million of Covid-19 Response and Recovery Funds to deliver improvements in a reserve management plan for the domain.
Since then, a Kerikeri Domain Working Group, which was formed to oversee the project, has been prioritising improvements and developing a concept plan with representatives of about 30 domain user groups.
Kaikohe-based architectural design studio, ĀKAU, also worked on the park design with input from the community and local tamariki.
The plans also show a space has been allocated for an RSA memorial wall.
Two spots have been identified for a potential community facility, which would replace the old pavilion damaged in an arson attack in mid-2016.
That two-storey building was demolished in March after years of U-turns and controversy.
Around 200 people visited the council unveiling on Saturday, interacted with staff and elected members, and consumed hundreds of sausages.
Working group chairman, Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board member Lane Ayr, said though there has been the odd comment about wanting to turn the green space into a parking lot or bus depot, "most of the comments I've had were good".
"The vast majority of people said they wanted green open space.
"When you're doing anything for the community, you're putting yourself out there for criticism, but I was surprised how many people think we've got it about right."
Local resident AnnMaree Mills, who represents dog walkers who use the domain, said overall feedback from the event was positive.
"The PGF has provided an opportunity to beautify this key asset in the centre of the town's hub and enhance its recreational amenities ... which will produce a much-needed park environment for all age groups."
Retaining the rule that dogs must be on-leash was also good, she said, and she hoped to secure a section of land for an off-leash fenced area in the future.
Work on some of these projects is due to begin as early as March and are hoped to be finished by the end of the year.