Breathing new life into MacCabe Park

Residential apartments could border Wollongong's MacCabe Park in a new plan to revitalise the "under-used" green space.Wollongong City Council is calling on residents to have their say on the future use of MacCabe Park as the council starts work on a master plan to breathe new life into the site.Night markets, community gardens, cycle paths, outdoor movies and cafes are possible projects that could rejuvenate the ailing park.Director of infrastructure and works Peter Kofod said the council would take all ideas on board."We're open to any suggestions, from apartments along the border of the park to increase passive surveillance, to introducing more activities and events," he said."We want to talk to residents, young and old, about how often they visit MacCabe Park, what kind of features would make the space more appealing, and what activities they'd like to use the park for in the future."The council has enlisted the NSW Government Architect's office to help put residents' ideas and suggestions into an initial concept design, which will be brought back to the community early next year.Residents are encouraged to fill out an online survey on the council's website before November 26.Council staff will also hold a kiosk at Crown St Mall's markets on Friday between 11am and 2pm.Meantime, the council has already earmarked a parcel of land in MacCabe Park's "developed land" area along Keira St for a new 80-space pay-by-the-month car park.The block, on the corner of Keira and Ellen streets, was rezoned earlier this year to accommodate the development, which is expected to ease long-term parking woes crippling the city.The council's property manager Peter Coyte said the six council-run, pay-by-the-month car parks in the CBD held a combined 540 cars and motorbikes, however each parking lot was booked out, with 326 people on reserve lists.Mr Coyte said he was confident the community would take advantage of leased spaces in the new car park."The car park is ideal for people working in the southern end of town where there is new development occurring such as the ING building," he said. "It's also only a short walk directly into the CBD."The new car park is expected to cost $270,000 to develop, with drainage, kerbing, surfacing, landscape works and linemarking needed before it becomes operational.It is believed the parking will incur the same $70 per month fee as the council's other long-term car parks, generating $62,700 a year at full capacity.Mr Coyte said the car park would be considered in the future master planning for MacCabe Park.