Community reserve getting an upgrade

Community space . . . Caversham Reserve, pictured during a recent community market day, will be upgraded in three stages over the next three years. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A community green-space in the heart of Caversham is to receive a major upgrade over the next three years.

Work is to begin this year on improvements to Caversham Reserve, at 230 South Rd, in keeping with a concept design developed by the Caversham Community Group and Dunedin City Council.

Caversham Community Group secretary Shelley Linwood said the reserve had an interesting history and held “a special place in the heart of many Caversham residents”.

“We want this to be a more attractive and inviting space that will draw the community outdoors,” Ms Linwood said.

Stage one of the three-stage project will cost between $50,000 and $60,000, and will include a barbecue, seating, tables and paths.

The other stages will include children’s play equipment (slide and climbing wall), planting trees and shrubs, and the installation of more paths.

The entrance and fences will be upgraded, and some fruit trees within the community orchard, which was planted in 2017, will be moved to better spots.

The upgrade project would be jointly funded by the community group and the DCC.

Ms Linwood said the Caversham Reserve had a fascinating history, beginning as an immigration barracks, then becoming a match factory, a fever hospital and eventually a croquet club.

After the buildings on the site were moved away or demolished, the site became reserve ground and was largely neglected until the Caversham Community Group began taking an interest in it in 2014, she said.

Group members, Taskforce Green workers, and council Parks and Reserves staff had helped to maintain it in recent years, and local school children had looked after the fruit trees.

Ms Linwood said the community group had been lobbying for the Caversham Reserve to be upgraded for some time, including inviting University of Otago design students to draw up some initial plans.

Some of the concepts developed by the students have been included in the final concept plan.

“The Caversham Reserve is a lovely, sheltered spot, which is becoming popular with the community – some regard it as an extension of their back yards,” she said.

“With the addition of some shade and more shelter, as well as play equipment, it can become a great gathering place for the community.”