A park has opened in New Town’s Action Area II that offers swings and slides for children, fields and multi-gym equipment for youths and walkways for the elderly.
Named Activity Park, the plot is near the Owl Junction, right opposite Neem Banani, and was inaugurated by minister Firhad Hakim on April 5. “I envy the local MLA, Tapash Chatterjee. The constituency I represent, the port area, is densely populated and lacks such empty space,” joked Hakim. Chatterjee was on stage with him as were Debashis Sen, chairman of New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), and others.
“New Town has vast expanses of empty space that can be developed. Calcutta proper on the other hand barely has space to plant a tree. This morning I spotted a sapling I had planted last monsoon. Someone had crushed it under some bricks, probably so it wouldn’t block the entrance to some commercial space. Such people don’t realise how they are harming their own health. New Town residents, on the other hand, gifted with parks like these, will live healthy lives in a pollution-free environment,” said Hakim.
Sen said the space would also benefit from the breeze blowing in through neem trees across the street. “Neem Banani is a breath of fresh air for visitors, who can simply hop over to this activity park for some physical exercises,” he said. The park has been built by NKDA with funding from the Smart City project.
The 14,000sq m park has slides, swings, jungle gyms and other play equipment, painted in bright colours. There is a natural water body at the centre that has been beautified with a fountain and cute bridges overhead. Benches and tables have been installed for visitors to rest as well as play chess on if they want. There is a toilet complex in the park and tiled walkways, that can be used for jogging or cycling, are lined with attractive hedges.
Residents thronged the park the very evening it was opened. “My four-year-old is climbing all the playthings here,” smiled Amrita Chakraborty, who lives in a co-operative building nearby. “Before this, we would have to take her to parks at a distance, by bike, but now we can walk over every day. I too would be able to chat with neighbours here and take walks.”
Besides a multi-gym set-up for youths is a verdant lawn that covers much of the park and will allow visitors to play football, cricket etc. “There are often squabbles between different groups wanting to use the fields so they would have to be pre-booked at a nominal fee,” said Sen.
The rest of the park will have free entry for all from 5.30am to 8.30pm.
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