Popped up, but sticking around

A temporary town square in Morwell is set to stay until 8 August, following requests from business and community to extend its life.

The Tarwin Street Pop-Up Park appeared in February through a VicHealth grant and has welcomed the likes of Australian Ballet, Circus Oz and Arts Centre Melbourne.

Close to 1500 people have taken part in the park’s series of organised events and activities, including workshops and performances, yoga, story time and fitness activities.

Latrobe City mayor Michael Rossiter said now the park would be “kept open at this stage” until 8 August, council planned to build on participation over the next few months.

“A large part of the activation of the park was to get strong community involvement and work with a range of community members, groups and organisations to increase community activity and activity in the park in general,” Councillor Rossiter said.

“Opportunities for future activities are available and will be explored.

“We note the park has also been used in other ways, such as parent and child play and people having lunch and meeting up in the park.

“These activities are important and we expect them to continue to grow.”

Statistics supplied from council show there had been about 90 scheduled activities and events at the park since February.

Of those, 72 involved lunch time yoga, story time for children, a fitness class for parents and bubs and an active class for young ones.

Richard Reid, a Morwell caf owner, is happy with council’s decision to extend the park’s life.

He said it brought about the type of carnival atmosphere Morwell experienced a few decades ago, and added a bit of fun to shopping around town.

“We think it’s a great asset, really,” Mr Reid said.

“It’s become a place that people meet… it’s just a different atmosphere.”

Morwell Traders member and Tarwin Street proprietor John Bellerby also welcomed the news.

“I think it’s great to see people using that area, it’s bringing new people into the town and it’s something we had to try,” Mr Bellerby said.

“There has been a lot of negative sentiment about it, but I think it’s been good.

“Hopefully this is the start of some exciting new plans for the reactivation of Morwell.”

He acknowledged concerns about traffic, as did Morwell caf owner Pauline Pike, who said it was simply a matter of reading the road signs.

Ms Pike believes the concept is a good idea, and suggested keeping the park throughout all four seasons to truly test whether it was worth keeping.

“What would have been good was if it had been there before Christmas, so you get the good weather to use it more,” Ms Pike said.

“But I’m happy for it to stay.

“I don’t think it’s getting used as much as it could, but I think that’s the weather.

“It brings the families out and… it just brightens up the street a bit, I think.”

To find out what events or activities are planned for the park, head to the corner of Tarwin Street and Commercial Road, Morwell or visit www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/