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By Casey Neill

Children’s stories will shape a new playground in Doveton.
A facelift is underway in Autumn Place and the Casey Council held information sessions outside the Doveton Bakery on Thursday 27 and Saturday 29 April to update residents on progress and seek input on designs for the next phase.
Cr Damien Rosario said he and Cr Wayne Smith had been heavily involved in the project.
“We’ve been driving it since 2013 with the officers,” he said.
“I lived in Doveton myself.
“I recognise the need for the area to have that renewal and the need for people to see that positive change around them.”
He said the project’s aim was to create social change, to alter residents’ perception of where they lived and how they felt about the suburb.
Cr Rosario said the next stage of the project was amazing.
“We’re transforming that park into a much more modern, engaging facility,” he said.
“The public have asked for newer and more exciting playground equipment.
“They’re going to write a story with the children at the childcare centre there.
“That story they’re going to come up with … is actually going to be reflected in the park’s design.
“They’re going to put elements of that story in the park.”
Cr Rosario said that over the past two to three years the council had installed a new footpath and removed trees that were damaging the path.
“Slowly we’re replacing things,” he said.
“The lighting will change eventually as well.
“The park itself has opened up into a much more visible area.”
Cr Rosario said the council removed a toilet block that was attracting “unsavoury activity”.
It built a metal toilet with State Government support, but there’s now an opportunity to instead incorporate a public toilet into a maternal and child health centre.
The centre could also include a kinder and library.
“We’re now looking to move the metal toilet to nearby Linden Place.
“It’s only a few years old. Why waste it when we can move it to Linden Place which is just around the corner?
“There is huge demand for a toilet around there, because of the playground.”
Cr Rosario said the autumn leaf sculpture that marked the square was removed for relocation but found to be rotten inside.
“It had already reached its end of life.
It could no longer be maintained,” he said.
“We are replacing it with newer artwork.
“We are working to consider the Aboriginal artwork going back to the facility as well.”
He said shopkeepers were part of the project and the council was working with them on activating the laneway behind the shops.
“There are so many opportunities to renew and grow,” Cr Rosario said.
He said more community consultation was on its way, and that interpreters would be on-hand to ensure diverse input.

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