Frank Kitts’ beloved playground won’t open in time for summer
Frank Kitts Park Playground. Photo/Mark Mitchell
Wellington’s beloved Frank Kitts Park playground will no longer open in time for the summer, after a major commercial construction company went into liquidation earlier this year.
The shareholders of Armstrong Downes Commercial 2012 entrusted their business to David Ruscoe and Russell Moore of Grant Thornton, we learned in May.
The company was building the $50 million 152-unit Taranaki St project of Te Aro, The Paddington, as well as the $6 million waterfront playground redevelopment.
The playground was undergoing a facelift after its iconic slide was removed last year following what the city council called “unfortunate” incidents.
One was a 5 year old girl who broke her leg playing on the tower slide. She broke her right shin, requiring a full cast from hip to toe.
Now, Wellington City Council documents reveal that construction is expected to resume either at the end of this month or in early September.
This means that the project will not be completed until March or April next year. It was originally scheduled to open in October.
The board estimated that it would cost an additional $1.5 million to complete the project following liquidation. Downer is about to take over the contract.
The chairman of the council’s infrastructure committee, Sean Rush, said it was disappointing that the playground was not open as early as planned.
“The liquidation has had that effect, the team has done very well and we plan to sign Downer this month, keep the contractors as best we can and hopefully get things back on track. on rails.”
Rush said the playground was one of his favorite places to take his own children.
He said he would seek more details on the $1.5 million overrun.
Councilor Jill Day, who has been heavily involved in restoring the playground, said it was the jewel in Wellington’s waterfront crown.
“The Frank Kitts Park playground development has been highly anticipated and I’m really thrilled that Downer can complete it.
“Covid has caused a number of project delays and unfortunately means this one will take longer than expected.”
The new playground will feature five swings, a new lighthouse and a double flying fox.
The large-scale play area will feature bespoke equipment, a nautical theme appropriate to the waterfront site, and an accessible space for children of all ages and abilities.
Children and adults shared a flood of fond memories when the original slide was removed.
Etched into his fiberglass were memories of two different lives.
By day, delighting cries echoed in its top tube of children relentlessly climbing the lighthouse tower to descend again and again on the slide.
At night, the slide was home to moonlit walks, first dates, illicit substances, and drunken antics.