Public art work on Sanson wish-list

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 26/01/2013

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Sanson has compiled a list of desired improvements, and installing a "heritage interpretation" of the grandstand is one of them.

The Manawatu township was the second to hear community-driven and council-supported plans to progress its patch this week, as part of the Manawatu District Council's community planning project.

Halcombe heard its plans on Wednesday and listed its memorial, marae and empty shops as popular action points.

A presentation by the council showed Sanson's residents pinpointing street furniture, a destination playground and new footpaths among the most desired do-ups.

But the proposed public sculpture in recognition of the grandstand was also high up on the list.

Sanson resident Kristi Whittaker said talk of the grandstand was still a sore topic in the community.

"In regards to seeing it as heritage interpretation, it's a little bit of salt in the wounds.

"There are people in the community who are still very hurt at the way it's [the grandstand] been dealt with over the last few years."

The community received news the the town's 90-year-old grandstand would be demolished after council-contracted structural engineers found that it would cost up to $500,000 to repair.

The grandstand was in a sorry state, leaking with structural issues including cracked foundations, worn roofing, broken drainage, cladding damage, a crumbling staircase, missing seating and a vandalised interior.

A photograph of artist Regan Gentry's sculpture Subject to Change, located on the Wellington Inner City Bypass, was shown as inspiration for the Sanson sculpture.

As Sanson often considers itself "The Gateway to the Manawatu", residents said they wanted to make their town the main hub and stopping point for the district.

"We're pleased the council are actually hearing our voice, as a community, and it's a real positive place to start," Ms Whittaker said.

"It's very exciting to be working on a common project together, with very clearly defined goals and outcomes."

Council community services group manager Brent Limmer said the project had certainly created chat in the town and there has been some "some good robust debate" among communities.

Concepts presented this week came from months of public meetings and collaboration with council-appointed project managers.

This work will provide a springboard for a detailed action plan to be drawn up by April. More Manawatu towns are set to follow suit including Apiti, Rangiwahia, Kimbolton and Himatangi Beach.

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- Manawatu Standard

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