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For the past few months, Invercargill’s Esk St has been a demolition site but at the weekend, hundreds of community members brought it back to life.
Activities included face painting, bouncy castles, heritage displays and a street-sized mini golf set-up. Southlanders made their way to the CBD spot for the two-day event, Kids in the City.
Invercargill City Council [ICC] city centre co-ordinator Shru Shrivastava said the decision was made to host the inaugural event after the annual ILT Kidzone event was cancelled, due to Covid-19.
"It’s a great way to keep the city vibrant [during the redevelopment], support local businesses and bring people into the city," she said.The initiative was a joint venture between ICC, Great South, Healthy Families, Invercargill Central Limited and ILT.
New Zealand Heritage Properties Ltd archaeologist Naomi Woods, of Dunedin, was on site with an array of artefacts for public display, which had been discovered during the demolition of the Esk St block.
Artefacts included a Rockingham saucer, clay soda bottles and luxury items from what was believed to be a 1860s rubbish pit.
"It gives people a chance to interact with what’s been found.
"Being able to see it fresh out of the ground is quite unique ..."
‘‘It’s not worth just being stored away just yet."
Nicola Boutcher, of Invercargill, took her children, Quade (5) and Tia (8), to Saturday’s festivities for "a bit of fun".
Regarding the demolition work, Mrs Boutcher said it was great to be able to "come and see the progress" of the CBD redevelopment.
"I think it’s really exciting for Invercargill."
Gore father Sam Duthie also brought his daughter, Emma (5), along after attending the ILT Kidzone the previous year.
"We’re having a bit of a holiday here and we’re just lucky it happened to be on the same day.
"It’s a great day for the family and it’s a good idea to have a replacement [after Kidzone was cancelled].