The City of Johannesburg will spend more than R150-million over the next four years on developing the Rotunda Park Precinct in Turffontein, south-east of Johannesburg, with the R12.8-million first phase now under way.
Rotunda Park makeoverA R200 000 makeover of Rotunda Park, completed in March, marked the beginning of the new developments.The redevelopment of the area forms part of the City’s Corridors of Freedom programme, which will use transit-oriented development to transcend Joburg’s apartheid-era town planning, bringing schools, services, work opportunities and other benefits closer to residents, including those living on the outskirts of the city.
The programme, which is being implementing in line with the City’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040), envisages a future Johannesburg shaped by well-planned transport arteries that link interchanges characterised by mixed-use development. Parks and green spaces will form an integral part of these developments.
The Turffontein Corridor is one of three priority corridors for which Strategic Area Frameworks have been approved, the other two being the Empire-Perth corridor between Soweto and the CBD, and the Louis Botha-Katherine corridor between the CBD, Alexandra and Sandton.
The Turffontein Corridor will cater for Turffontein and surrounding suburbs such as Kenilworth and Rosettenville. Plans have already been approved for a R2-billion mixed-use housing development project in the South Hills area.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning Councillor Roslyn Greeff said the Rotunda Park Precinct is a priority project that will be undertaken in three phases.
PHASE 1: PUBLIC ENVIRONMENT UPGRADES
“Work on the R12.8-million first phase has started. It is expected to be completed by November,” said MMC Greeff.
The first phase involves upgrades of Park Crescent, the road encircling Rotunda Park, High Street to the north of the park, the intersection of High Street and Turf Club Street (to create a northern gateway to the precinct), and the intersection of Turf Club Street and Main Street (to create an eastern gateway).
New paving will be laid, street lighting will be upgraded and cycle lanes will be added to some sections. In addition, street furniture and artwork will be installed for an improved public environment.
“This is a public environmental upgrade,” the MMC said. “The contractor has been appointed and the team is now on site.”
PHASE 2: LINEAR PARK PROJECT
The second phase of the development, the estimated R47.7-million Linear Park project, will start later this year after consultations and workshop sessions with the public.
As it is currently envisaged, Linear Park will involve splitting a two-kilometre stretch of De Villiers Street, which runs to the west and east from either side of Rotunda Park, and creating a new green public space in between.
Over the next two months, the City will hold public participation forums to find out what residents want to see happen around this area. This will then inform the final design.
The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has approved the conceptual designs of the park.
PHASE 3: PARK EXTENSIONS
The third phase of the Rotunda Park Precinct development, scheduled to start in 2017-18, will involve the extension of the De Villiers Parkway/Linear Park towards various landmarks in the area.
Turffontein, one of the oldest residential areas in Johannesburg, has been in gradual decline over the years. MMC Greeff says the redevelopment of the area will attract new investors, especially in the housing sector.
“We want the private sector to come on board and develop affordable housing. We want them to build upwards, buildings that will accommodate more people. We want to see more people move into this area,” the MMC said.
In March, signalling the start of the new precinct developments, the 10-hectare Rotunda Park received a R200 000 makeover from Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, transforming it into a modern outdoor recreational space complete with new picnic and braai facilities, a state-of-the-art children’s play area with rubberised surfaces, a skateboarding court, astroturf mini-soccer field, revamped netball and tennis courts and a running track.
Source: www.joburg.org.za, with additional reporting by JDA reporter