A long-held vision for Whitton Park at Glenbrook has been realised thanks to a partnership between the Rotary Club of Lower Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains City Council and the NSW Government.
A new accessible concrete path connecting all-abilities parking to a renovated picnic shelter, with newly-installed accessible seating and tables, has been constructed.
Planned by Lower Blue Mountains Rotary Club for some years, the project became a reality after winning a NSW Government 'My Community Project' grant of $55,000.
The project was championed by Rotary Past District Governor David Cook and his wife Carolyn. Sadly, Mr Cook succumbed to cancer some in late 2020 and just failed to see the project finalised.
"The Whitton Park upgrade is an excellent example of community collaboration. Lower Mountains Rotary achieved the My Community Project grant and council has managed the construction," said Blue Mounains mayor Mark Greenhill.
"Improved accessibility means the park invites people of all ages and mobility to come and visit. It will be an attractive location for families to spend time together, and to enjoy our beautiful environment. With all these improvements brought together, Whitton Park will become a sought-after location."
John Whitton Memorial Park is dedicated to the memory of John Whitton who is generally recognised as the 'father' of NSW Railways - especially the railway over the Blue Mountains including the Glenbrook zig zag.
Lower Blue Mountains Rotary adopted the special project to mark its 50th anniversary and to celebrate 100 years of Rotary in Australia in April, 2021.
The project was officially unveiled with a simple ceremony on November 26.
Rotarian Carolyn Cook explained the hard work behind the scenes to make the project a reality. She especially thanked Blue Mountains mayor Greenhill, council staff for support throughout the entire project - especially planning and construction, her son Richard Cook for the initial planning and costing estimates, and many members of the Rotary club for a variety of tasks.
Official cutting of the ribbon to open the park and revamped Whitton Park shelter was carried out by Carolyn Cook and Lower Blue Mountains Rotary President Michele Ellery.
The ceremony concluded with the planting of five Manchurian Pear Trees at the western end of Whitton Park to commemorate David Cook's Rotary service and create a future conversation piece for park visitors as they change colours in accord with the change of seasons.