On Thursday, May 18, the community joined Hastings district councillors and other invited guests to officially open the Cornwall Park tea kiosk community building.
The historic building and its associated band rotunda was first opened in 1929, and over the past two years has undergone earthquake strengthening and internal refurbishment to return it to a space for the wider community to use.
New playground equipment has also been added to the area in front of the building, chosen with a focus on providing opportunities for play for those with disabilities.
And it features Hawke’s Bay’s first Changing Places bathroom, a safe and clean environment for people with multiple or complex disabilities including toilet, showering and changing facilities.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the renovation was prompted by feedback through the Cornwall Park Reserve Management Plan consultation process, when there was overwhelming support to return the building to its former community use.
“We are thrilled to follow the wishes of the community, and return one of our city’s signature historic buildings back to its original purpose.
“There have already been many expressions of interest from people wanting to use this new space.
“I would like to acknowledge the guardianship of this building by Hastings playcentre over the past 50 odd years; and I’m excited to support them in the building of their new facility in St Leonards Park.”
Disability Resource Centre service manager Karen Elliott said the new developments, particularly the new bathroom situated right next to the playground, were “amazing”.
“I’m really impressed – everything has been thought about in the bathroom, from low hand-dryers to privacy screens.”
Park and playground user Paula Barron was also enthusiastic.
“I think it’s a really fancy building – I’m so thankful to the community for helping out with the things we need.”
Council worked with various user groups to develop the playground that includes new musical, spinning, rocking and swinging play options all of which can be accessed directly by wheelchairs.
18 May 2023
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