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Youngsters enjoy the bright blue foam blocks, tubes and connectors at Saturday's launch of The Imagination Playground at Albert Park in Hastings, where the items will be available everyday between 11am to 2pm. Supplied/Russell Taylor Photography.

Hundreds of children enjoyed Hastings' new 'Imagination Playground' at Saturday's launch party at Albert Square.

Susan McDade, General Manager of the Hastings City Business Association,  said the distinctive bright blue foam blocks, tubes and connectors were "a big hit" with the 200 children who visited the the inner-city park during the course of the launch, which ran from 11am and 2pm and also featured live music, and free fruit and bottled water for the youngsters.

“I was blown away by the creativity and teamwork showed by the crowd of children at our launch party," McDade said. "The Imagination Playground is a great addition to the CBD because it is so portable, flexible and appeals to a wide age range of children.”

McDade said the imagination playground would be at the Albert Square Park everyday from 11am to 2pm to start with.

"We will move it around as needed to the Art Gallery or Library and adjust the hours as we see what the response is," she said.

The aim of the playground items is to add vibrancy to the CBD and was funded by Hastings District Council-funded City Vibrancy program.

Councillor Mick Lester, who attended the event with Councillor Kevin Watkins, said the venue for the equipment, Albert Square was "a wonderful new and original asset for the city centre."

"It provides an interactive park for all ages, with an oversized chess set for the older age group, and some wonderful construction materials to amuse children of all ages.

“Once more people become aware of it I can see it as a great spot for parents with children to have somewhere to amuse them while in town and for office workers to relax at lunchtime.”

Mr Watkins said it was "fantastic" to see mums and dads and young children enjoying the blue blocks in Albert Park.

"This is utilizing Albert Square as we envisaged . . . and adding to the fun and excitement of city centre shopping experience. Well done everyone."

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Imagination at work: Havelock North youngster Robbie Lewis, 4, goes for a ride. Photo: Clinton Llewellyn AAHB

Havelock North dad Mike Lewis, who was relaxing on the lawns while daughters Gracie, 7, Alex, 2, and son Robbie, 4, played with the equipment, said the new initiative would probably be enough to get him to travel into the centre of Hastings more regularly. 

"It gives the kids something different to do while the parents can sit back and have a chat. I think it's great," he said.

The Hastings District Council funded collaborative central city vibrancy initiative has only been in effect since October last year but has supported a wide variety of activations throughout the city from business networking events, concerts, art work to the Christmas Trees displayed by retailers in December.

Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD