SINGAPORE - There will soon be more recreational space for the crowds thronging popular East Coast Park.
Visitors will get to enjoy more open lawns for picnics, family-friendly amenities and recreational facilities when two new developments are completed.
One of them, Parkland Green, will open in September, the National Parks Board (NParks) said yesterday.
The 4ha development will have eight dining establishments, including a microbrewery, two sports and retail outlets, and a laser-tag arena where people can shoot at one another with handheld infrared guns.
There will also be a 1ha open lawn for picnics and gatherings, along with a garden-themed carpark - with 306 parking spaces - lined with trees and shrubs.
A covered walkway will link the area to an existing underpass in Marine Parade.
The site - previously a private golfing range - is being redeveloped by NParks at a cost of $11.5 million, which includes the cost of demolishing existing structures and traffic-impact studies.
Another enclave, Marine Cove, is on track to be completed by mid-2016.
This development will have "a good mix of dining and recreational facilities", said NParks.
It will also have a playground with equipment suitable for children of different ages and those with disabilities.
An iconic McDonald's fast-food outlet used to be located there, but was closed in March 2012 for the area's redevelopment.
NParks will call a tender for Marine Cove's construction by the end of the month.
Both developments are part of efforts by NParks to cater to the large number of visitors at the 185ha East Coast Park, the largest and most popular coastal park in Singapore.
Noting that the park attracts more than 7 million visits annually, Kong Yit San, assistant chief executive of NPark's Park Management and Lifestyle Cluster, said that the projects are part of the board's continual efforts to upgrade amenities, and improve accessibility and connectivity within the park.
National University of Singapore undergraduate Zachary Soh, 25, who lives nearby and goes there two to three times a week, said the new facilities would help to spread out the crowds, especially during weekends when the park is often packed.
"It can be quite hard to cycle at the park on weekends," he said.
"The two places may help to disperse the crowd so that they don't congregate in the same areas."
Corporate trainer Dennis Milner, 43, has been visiting the park at least once a week since he was a schoolboy at St Patrick's secondary school.
"I go there to run and cycle. I hope it keeps its charm," he said.
This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.
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