TEESSAURUS PARK: Quirky ‘hidden gem’ gets £250k boost
CASH to turn a quirky Teesside attraction into a major tourist draw has been signed off by council chiefs.
Middlesbrough’s Teessaurus Park was granted an extra £250,000 on Tuesday afternoon for a cafe with toilets, a zip wire, and a raft of improvements.
Sound effects and motion sensors will feature on the park’s dinosaur sculptures.
And the moves will also include better lighting, large outdoor dinosaur-themed jigsaw puzzles, large dinosaur footprints, and accessible play equipment for children with disabilities.
Ahead of the executive meeting, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said he wanted to “turbocharge” the attraction on the banks of the River Tees.
“The park is ‘Instagrammable’, it offers amazing views and it connects people to the River Tees,” he aded.
“We’re going to have breath-taking lighting and add sound effects.
“Kids are going to love this place even more than they do now.”
Better paths, more signs to the park, and CCTV cameras are also part of the efforts.
A “container style” cafe will feature customer seating and a serving hatch for takeaways.
A tender process will see it outsourced by the council and managed by an independent firm.
Events, an education programme, and efforts to get businesses to sponsor some of the dinosaurs in the park are also part of the vision.
Leaders also heard how Cleveland Cables had provided materials worth thousands of pounds to the park – with nearby AV Dawson also offering labour and equipment.
The proposal on the table had urged borrowing to fund the string of improvements.
But chiefs agreed for finance officials to look at other pots of cash first at the request of Cllr Chris Hobson, executive member for finance.
Executive councillor Mieka Smiles hailed the plan as “really exciting” – and said there’d been an “amazing reaction” to the improvements lined up.
She also praised the Boro Champs community group for their work in cleaning up the area and painting the dinosaurs.
“It created a renewed buzz about a Middlesbrough hidden gem,” she added.
“It’s truly unique to the North-east and we want to build on that momentum.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to bring more people into Middlesbrough.
“Covid has shown people really need these wide open spaces and it’s been really well utilised during this period.
“As a mum myself, we’re forever looking for places to go and the fact that this is a free place to go is another huge benefit.”
Clr Dennis McCabe, executive member for the environment, said volunteers had put in hundreds of hours into improving the site.
“People are sitting up and seeing what’s happened here,” he added.
“The time I’ve spent in the area has been enlightening where you bump into people who’ve brought their kids from as far afield as York and Newcastle.
“It’s a hidden gem – we’ve opened it up and it will draw people into the town.”
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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