Park Centre nears finish line

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The former Park Bowling Club in the Timaru Botanic Gardens is about $70,000 away from a $500,000 transformation.
Community groups are already using the facility, for which numerous volunteers have worked tirelessly in a combined effort over two years.
Alzheimers South Canterbury president Diane Nutsford spearheaded the effort with a vision to transform the facility in 2014.
Alzheimers South Canterbury signed a lease with the Timaru District Council following the bowling club’s closure in 2014.
Presbyterian Support was the first group to get established at the centre, through its Enliven programme, which provides services with a focus on supporting older people to do more of what they want.
The aim of the redevelopment is to bring up to a dozen organisations together in a community centre for support groups.
The venue, called the Park Centre, offers daycare programmes between Monday and Saturday in one area and has a lounge and kitchen.
Mrs Nutsford was on site last week with Rotary Club of Timaru president Anne Carnie, past president Lynette Wilson and Rotary Club of Timaru member Dave Woods to discuss the project and release plans for the final leg of the project — landscaping at an estimated cost of between $50,000 and $70,000.
The Rotary Club of Timaru has funded the new $28,000 toilet block, which is due to be completed in the next two weeks.
Mrs Nutsford said diggers were scheduled to be on site next week to start landscaping.
‘‘There’s still a massive amount of work to be done outside. We are about $50,000 to $70,000 away from the finish line,’’ she said.
‘‘I’d like it all to be completed by September.’’ Mrs Nutsford estimated she could raise the outstanding amount in the next six weeks. The landscape design includes alterations to a driveway, planter boxes and an outdoor dining area. Rotary Club of Timaru member Dave Woods recalled meeting Mrs Nutsford and other parties before the project launch. A steering group was then formed. ‘‘Diane took us around the facility. It was cold, it was just a shell, and Diane told us how she envisaged it.’’ Alzheimers South Canterbury will manage the centre as a stand-alone, self-funding project. Mrs Nutsford said there had been great buy-in from tradespeople, lawyers, accountants, engineers, community groups and the Timaru District Council. The floor plan had been designed to encourage groups to work together and to provide opportunities to combine social activities. ‘‘The goals are to significantly reduce social isolation and to support families to remain together,’’ she said. ‘‘It will raise public awareness of the impact of ageing alone and provide opportunities for peer support. ‘‘This centre will accommodate a lot of groups for recreational and social activities.’’