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New linear park set to transform iconic arts precinct

New linear park set to transform iconic arts precinct
Brendan Rees

Construction has begun on a much-anticipated green space in Dodds St, which the City of Melbourne promises will be a “sanctuary” for the community.

The $6.5 million project is part of the council’s commitment to creating more open spaces in Southbank to enhance the urban environment for a hitherto green space-deprived densely-populated precinct.

The park, situated between Southbank Boulevard and Grant St, is set to become an attraction with 3200 square metres of open space, featuring native grasslands, wildflowers, 35 new trees, paved bluestone pathways and community gathering spaces.

It will be a place for people of all abilities with the design bearing accessibility in mind so everyone can explore the lush green space in the heart of Melbourne’s iconic Arts Precinct.

The northern end of Dodds St will become a shared zone, with accessible parking and pick-up and drop-off areas to make it easy for those visiting the Arts Precinct, while the southern end will be closed to traffic and converted into public parkland.

Work on the park began in January and will take 12 months to complete.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp visited the work site in early February when heavy machinery had begun to dig up the roadway.

Cr Capp said the new park would breathe new life into an under-explored part of the city by increasing foot traffic and the area’s tree canopy and biodiversity.

“The Southbank community has told us that accessible green open spaces are essential in this densely populated part of the city, so we’re creating a sanctuary with native grasslands, wildflowers and trees, places to sit and rest, and spaces to explore,” she said.

“The park’s design reflects its significance on the local and global artistic stage, creating a world-leading cultural tourism destination for all to enjoy.”

The council’s environment portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said city greening was “essential to support a diverse urban forest, increase canopy cover and keep our city cool in a warming climate”.

 

“Sustainability has been a key focus in our design of the Dodds St Linear Park – with inbuilt rain gardens and remediated soil, and native species to encourage biodiversity in the heart of our CBD,” he said.

 

The Dodds St Linear Park forms stage two of the Southbank Boulevard transformation, which has created more than 22,000 square metres of new public space – including two brand new parks and more than 400 new trees.

A public artwork has also been commissioned for the area with planning and design under way.

Vice-president of local residents’ group Southbank3006 Jannine Pattison said they were “delighted to see work finally well on the way on Dodds St.”

“This linear park will hopefully extend the useable green space available to Southbank residents. We are looking forward to the planning and implementation of even more green space on the ACCA forecourt, which will create a beautiful green corridor, if executed well,” she said.

During construction, the council said Dodds St would be closed to traffic, except for delivery and service vehicles. Accessible parking spaces will be temporarily relocated to Sturt St. Access to properties in Dodds St will be maintained at all times.

The council has wasted no time getting to work on the park after announcing the approval of its preferred contractor last November. •

 

Caption: Lord Mayor Sally Capp tours the construction of a new linear park in Dodds St.

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