Two pop-up parks have been opened within the Northern Grampians Shire Council with one site in Stawell and the other in Halls Gap.
The Stawell pop-up park is a joint project with Stawell Regional Health who have temporarily provided a portion of their carpark for the purpose, while an anonymous philanthropist has provided the land for the Halls Gap park on a short-term basis.
To complete the sites, the Victorian Government provided $250,000 to the Council through the Local Councils Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package for the development of these parks, with the parks to provide new spaces for locals and tourists to gather in the shire.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Murray Emerson said many locals have been curious to know more about the project and hopes the outdoor spaces will be well utilised.
"Thank you very much to the Victorian Government for funding this community focused project," he said.
"The funding has helped to provide an uplifting and all abilities accessible area that promotes connection and encourages us all to be social outdoors again.
"I encourage residents and tourists alike to consider adopting these pop up parks as regular meeting places and outdoor event venues: they look very welcoming, restful and harmonious in their settings."
St Arnaud artist Kyle Torney, renowned for his realistic portraiture murals on silos and town walls, is completing the Halls Gap mural, with Indigenous youth and emerging leaders the face of the art work.
In Stawell, Wimmera artist Nichola Clarke, known for her community art projects and upcycling sculptures, has collaborated with students from Skene Street Specialist School who provided drawings to Mrs Clarke to incorporate into the mural.
The parks, which are located at 71-75 Main Street, Stawell and 99 Grampians Road, Halls Gap, boast a striking mural and are designed to host small events.
For example, with a capacity of 30 people seated or 100 people standing, the Halls Gap park layout has the potential to host small music gigs, a cinema night, pop-up art shows or other community led events with council permission.
The parks were designed by landscape designer and sensory garden specialist Felicity Brown from Laimiga.
The design brief for the parks specified they must be wheelchair and pram accessible and provide an inclusive environment that encourages the community to gather in a Covid-Safe manner outdoors.
Dementia supportive elements have been incorporated into the landscape design of the Stawell park to boost cognitive functioning through the triggering of memories from the heritage and sensory planting choices.
The council expects the parks to be used for several years, with an official launch planned for the spring school holidays.
Council has also conducted a community survey to find names for the parks, which will be announced shortly.
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