It may seem hard to believe but amongst all that high priced real estate in Sandton’s CBD someone made room for a park. But it’s taken the involvement of no small amount of players for green to shine out of that grey concrete jungle.
The Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) has had the intention of creating and maximising use out of the area’s public spaces for some time now. Johannesburg City Parks handed over a tract of land on the corner of Grayston and Sandton Drives last year and nearly forty indigenous trees were planted to seal the deal as it were.
The current name of the park is deceptive: Sandton Central Park is actually on the very edge of the CBD on the border with Parkmore. Depending on your level of fitness and the length of your lunch break, the park is within walking distance of quite a few Sandton office blocks (SA Brewries for example) and hotels. It may seem a little out of the way to some given that it’s at the bottom of quite a steep hill.
Much is being made of Sandton CBD’s carbon foot print and how much the park will bring some relief in that regard. SCMD city improvement district manager Paul Van Rooyen has been quoted as saying: “We adopted an eco-friendly approach and developed a recreational area that will not only serve as an addition to Sandton Central, but something that will also mitigate Sandton Central’s carbon footprint,”
Carbonworx CEO Mark Smith says that the initiative will put the Sandton precinct on the international map because of its providing a platform for climate change, the community and biodiversity in general. (Carbonworx, which has its hand all matters green, is choosing indigenous trees for the project.) Ambassadors for Carbonworx, top South African rock band The Parlotones, also attended the tree planting ceremony to promote the CarbonWorx drive, which invites people to calculate their carbon footprint and buy trees to offset their impact.
Urban Genesis which claims to be a pioneer in urban management renewal, manages the SCMD. Its core business being the establishment and management of improved city districts.
The first phase of the development of the park will involve the important and strategic placement of trees and shrubbery. From there a very specialised sculpting of the landscape will be put in motion as well as the equipping of seating areas and a children’s recreation zone. Further to this, well paved paths and a jogging trail are planned. For those who won’t be walking to the park from nearby offices or the adjacent residential area of Parkmore, secure parking is to be arranged.
The project is sponsored by Standard Bank and a partnership exists between Johannesburg City Parks, SCMD and marketing company Smile Media, which arranged the park’s hosting of income generating advertisement signs. The earnings of the advertising will cover a three-year maintenance management agreement.
Johannesburg City Parks senior manager Oscar Oliphant has been quoted as saying that this open space has been due for a facelift for some time. It’s clear that the park will have a significant greening effect and be a way for business in the area to give back in attempting to reduce the carbon footprint of the CBD. The spin off for the local residential community is also a plus.