There were smiles and cheers all around at Bridges Hill Park on Saturday when the completion of the first stage of its playground and access improvement project was celebrated.
Cessnock City Council has completed about $1.8 million of works at the East Cessnock park since construction started in June 2018.
The works have included the establishment of a regional playground, fitness stations, landscaping, pathways, BBQ facilities and improved pedestrian access.
Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent is extremely pleased the first stage of the $4 million project is open and ready for residents to enjoy.
"Council crews have been working exceptionally hard to get this community facility open to the public as soon as possible," Cr Pynsent said.
"We opened the fitness stations earlier in the year and we're now excited to open the playground."
Cr Pynsent encouraged locals who are yet to explore the Yango Street park to come and check it out.
"It's a spectacular space! You won't be disappointed and I'm sure it will be the first of many visits to this fantastic community space," he said.
Cr Pynsent congratulated all council staff who continue to work on the project.
"It's been a huge effort so far with around 600 sandstone blocks, hand worked rock scramble and the planting of over 3000 plants," he said.
"I look forward to celebrating the official opening with you all next year."
The Bridges Hill playground and access improvement project are part of council's Cessnock CBD revitalisation masterplan.
The project is jointly funded by the Federal Government's National Stronger Regions Fund, Cessnock Wine Country Lions Club, and the NSW Government's Stronger Country Communities Fund, Social Housing Community Improvement Fund and Resources for Regions program.
Member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon said the park is a great credit to Cessnock Council, the mayor, councillors and council staff.
"The outdoor staff have demonstrated again they are as good as any team in the private sector contractor," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
"Cessnock grows more vibrant and attractive every year and the new park will further energise our path to becoming a modern city with plenty for locals to do and much to attract visitors with money to spend.
"The park represents the benefits of strong working partnerships between Federal, State, Local Government and community groups like Cessnock Wine Country Lions Club.
"Congratulations to all involved. Bring on stages two, three and four."
The next stage of the project involves construction of public amenities, additional barbecue areas, a yarning circle and more play spaces.
The final stage involves car park improvements and improvements to pedestrian access.
The project is expected to be finalised in 2020. To keep up to date with the project visit www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/community/sport/currentprojects/bridgeshillproject.