The entrance from Albert Street to the Manawatū River will be more inviting

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The Albert Street entrance to the Manawatū Riverside shared trail is in line for some upgrades to make it more inviting for pedestrians and cyclists (file photo).

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The Albert Street entrance to the Manawatū Riverside shared trail is in line for some upgrades to make it more inviting for pedestrians and cyclists (file photo).

The Albert Street entrance to the park and the Manawatū River Trail will finally get a makeover starting this week.

In a few months, the entrance should have a wide concrete path, flower gardens, bollards, lighting and a terrace with seating.

City Council parks and reserves manager Kathy Dever-Tod said it was one of six approaches to the shared riverside path being upgraded to allow more people easier and safer access to the river.

The Victoria Esplanade and Ahimate Preserve entrances to the River Park had already received the treatment, and three more remained to be done.

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Albert Street works were due to start in the summer of 2021/22, but were delayed until a contractor was available.

The money for the works came from the tariffs of the current year.

There was $1.5 million in the council’s capital budget for new Manawatū River Park projects for this year.

“We’re keen to do this work in the winter, so the new entry is ready for everyone this summer,” Dever-Tod said.

“We know this upgrade will make the entrance more functional for everyone, while also making it safer by lighting up the area.”

People used the Albert Street access to the ManawatœRiverside Trail in their bubbles during the lockdown.

GEORGE HEAGNEY/Stuff

People used the Albert Street access to the ManawatœRiverside Trail in their bubbles during the lockdown.

The work was expected to take about two months, but it depended on the weather as some tasks had to be done when it was dry.

The seats, which would create a resting place for those exercising along the way, had been designed in the shape of an eel.

Rangitāne had contributed to the design, reflecting the cultural significance of nearby Hokowhitu Lagoon as a historical source of eel or tuna for the Maori.

Dever-Tod said the council was working with contractors to ensure there would still be access to the river trail during construction.

The upgrade did not extend to the parking lot, so people could still park their vehicles there and walk along the trail and down to the river during the construction period.

Area residents would still be able to drive in and out of their homes, and trash and recycling services would continue as normal.

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