A year ago I posted a story about Martin Luther King park and the residential building projects going on around the park. At that time a green living wall was being attached to the side of one of the new buildings. Well look at it now…..a lush, healthy vertical garden.
There is great progress on this park project. It’s exciting to see each stage come to fruition and the works in progress advance visibly week by week. We now have a beautiful wetland space with waterlillies, reeds and several other water plants. The aquatic residents – and their offspring – have moved in and look very content. This morning while I was exercising and the ducks were still sleeping there were workmen preparing the muddy edges for the next extension of planting. Beyond this wetland area in the middle of the park, the north park is now open with a grand adventure playground, petanque pitches, various green spaces and the re-located basketball, football and tennis grounds. The original spaces for these in the south park have been subsumed into the work on the extension of the Line 14 metro. In total the park now provides 6.5 hectares of space, which will ultimately become 10 ha on completion of the project.
The Clichy-Batignolles area is one big urban development scheme comprising the park project, transport improvements (Metro, train and tramway), development of additional housing (3,400 households for an expected 6,500 inhabitants) complete with social services such as crèches, schools and aged-care, commercial services, car parking and recycling, plus the development and installation of the Cite Judiciaire (aka Palais de Justice de Paris comprising the High Court, magistrates courts and police ministry).
It’s ambitious, complex, costly and necessary. Above all it’s enjoyed already. It’s the little things that deliver so much. In the grand scheme of this project the water spout space is probably a small thing. But at 4 o’clock every afternoon when the water pumps rumble under the concrete slabs and the first jets of water spurt sky high the enjoyment value is measured in the squeals and laughter of the kids dancing in the water jets. In the heat of summer in the concrete heart of a big city it’s magic.
The completion of the project is planned for 2017-18 with delivery of the Palais de Justice and the Metro line 14 extension. It will be the culmination of years of planning (from 2001 onwards, which included plans for development of the site as the potential space for hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, but London won the bid), preparation with acquisition of the land (it was railway land) and creation of the Zone d’ Amenagement Concerte (ZACs) needed for public works programmes, and hours, days and years of hard work on site.
I cannot say enough good things about this park; as a nearby resident – albeit a temporary one – it adds considerably to the quality of my Parisian life. I certainly want to come back and see the finished project.