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New playground to drive creeklands revival

Armidale’s popular new playground in Curtis Park will be a major driver in breathing new life into the creeklands and the central business district, Council’s Interim Administrator Viv May told an opening ceremony for the precinct yesterday.

Mr May joined the NSW Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, Council’s Acting General Manager, John Rayner,  and construction contractors at the official opening of the playground, which was funded by a $999,700 grant from the State Government.

He said the community’s response to the playground since it was opened up to the community last week showed how important the playground would be in helping the creeklands realise its potential as a community and cultural centrepiece of the region.

“It has been wonderful to see and hear children and their families enjoying the playground in recent days and, in time, this attraction for locals and visitors will also translate to greater activity in the wider CBD,” he said.

“I have no doubt this will be an attractor for people travelling along the New England Highway to come in and spend money in Armidale.”

He used the ceremony to announce Council would extend the playground’s perimeter fencing so it is enclosed on all sides, backed by a commitment from Mr Marshall to help source further funds if additional money is required.

Mr May said Council is listening to feedback from the community, to fully fence the equipment to further increase its accessibility, “and we will do the fencing”.

“It is unfortunate that COVID restrictions have prevented us from holding a larger community event to officially launch the playground,” he said.

“With such a high level of interest in the playground, we have been careful to stagger the removal of the safety fencing and an official opening, to try and spread out the inevitable high number of visitors during the initial days.”

COVID Safe signage has been displayed at entrance points to the playground and Mr May urged visitors to observe appropriate social distancing, while enjoying the facility.

He said the playground would be an important asset to ensure the Armidale region continues to be an attractive place for families to live, work and play.

“Young families are a lifeblood of any community and a healthy regional centre relies on being able to attract and retain those families,” he said.

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