Park project ... St Patrick's redevelopment committee
chairman Sean Toomey holds plans for a community park in
South Dunedin that is to be constructed next to the
Basilica in MacAndrew Rd. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
A big project in South Dunedin is about to get into full
swing after three years of planning and fundraising.
The historic St Patrick's Basilica is to undergo restoration
work and in the next month or two the presbytery next door
will be demolished to make way for a public park.
Work has started on refurbishing the St Patrick's School
building, which will become the headquarters for the Catholic
Social Services agency.
It will have two large rooms available for community groups
and a playground at the rear of the building.
St Patrick's redevelopment committee chairman Sean Toomey
said the parish had decided about three years ago it would
become "outward looking" rather than focus on what went on
within its walls.
The community park and community rooms were an essential part
of that strategy, providing a place for people to relax, have
a barbecue or just read a book, sheltered from the wind.
Dunedin City Council consents had been granted and historic
considerations were taken care of, so all that remained was
to get started on the project.
They had enough funds to demolish the presbytery, construct a
raised lawn, plant some trees and take down the front wall.
That work should be finished in January.
After that they would be looking for more ideas, donations
and input from anyone interested in the project.
"South Dunedin is clearly missing an open space with green
space. It [St Patrick's] is not exactly dead centre of South
Dunedin but it is not too far off it."
The Basilica itself would be restored to near its original
state although it would never be completed as the architects
had first envisaged.
Mr Toomey said the Basilica was originally going to be
"extremely ornate" with a dome and wings on each side but had
never been completed.
Later additions such as the front porch and the mezzanine
inside would be removed.