- Project: Kenworthy Place Reserve activation and amenity improvement project
- Organisation: Ballarat City Council
- Grant fund: Community Safety Fund
- Grant amount: $10,000 (Co-contribution of $8702)
Kenworthy Reserve in Mt Pleasant, a suburb of Ballarat, has experienced graffiti, vandalism and anti-social behaviour, attracting negative media attention.
The reserve lacked natural surveillance due to back fences lining the park and was in need of significant improvements to the quality and functionality of the space to encourage its use as a neighbourhood meeting place.
In January 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a survey of local residents regarding crime and safety in the neighbourhood, which highlighted the community’s poor perception of safety in the area, particularly in the Kenworthy Reserve. This prompted Council and other stakeholders to form a Project Implementation Group with the aim of engaging local residents to discuss their concerns and contribute ideas to improve and enhance the reserve.
Council then developed a landscape concept plan for the park using safer design principles. The plan included maximising natural surveillance of the park, improving access and sightlines, and improving the management and maintenance of the park such as plantings and play equipment.
The $10,000 Community Safety Fund grant supported the following works:
- new football posts, fencing, and park seating
- new signage
- removal of overgrown vegetation and mulching
- tree planting
- boulders with the new ‘Crouch Park’ name and other designs by children at the local Mt Pleasant Primary School.
Several neighbourhood activities were conducted throughout the project delivery to engage local residents, creating a sense of ownership and responsibility for the reserve. Residents were also involved in the renaming of the reserve and were taught how to assist council and the police to respond to vandalism and graffiti issues should they arise in the future.
Council partnered with local residents, Mt Pleasant Primary School, Rotary Wendouree, Victoria Police, YMCA, Department of Health & Human Services, Uniting Care to deliver the Kenworthy Place Reserve activation and amenity improvement project.
The project received positive feedback from residents, stakeholders and Council and the community engagement activities encouraged a sense of ownership of the reserve, which has fostered ongoing positive relationships within the community.
Five years on from completion, council have reported that the trees and vegetation planted have continued to grow and flourish, the fencing has not been subject to graffiti, the playground equipment remains in good condition and footpaths are clear of dumping and debris.
This project serves as a great example of effective local community engagement to address a local issue.