Zhabei Park reopens in style
The 73-year-old Zhabei Park, the oldest park in Jing’an District, reopened to the public on Monday after renovations of its eastern section were completed.
The park was originally the grave of Song Jiaoren, a Chinese revolutionary and one of the founders of the Kuomintang. He was assassinated in 1913 and buried in the park. In 1946, the site opened as a public park by adding facilities, while Song’s grave remained intact.
Over the years, the park has become a popular destination for local residents wanting to escape the bustle and noise of city life. In recent years, it has been visited by nearly 10,000 people per day.
However, many of the park’s promenades and buildings had become damaged with age and its drainage system was in need of repair. People living nearby often complained about the noise from the park and the disorderly nature of its plants, according to the district’s greenery authority.
To keep the popular park open for visitors, officials opted to upgrade its grounds in two phases.
Renovation of the park’s 5.67-hectare western section, where the park’s major attractions are located, began in December 2017 and it reopened in August 2018. After that, the park’s 7.67-hectare eastern section, which features a water lily pool and a children’s play area, was closed for renovation. It reopened on Monday.
The whole park was renovated in accordance with the city’s “sponge city” concept of water management. As part of the concept, a new drainage system channels rainwater into an underground purification and storage system which also prevents rain from pooling on roads.
The park has rich history and features the style of a traditional Chinese garden.
Amid the upgrades, some of the park’s historic structures, including Song's tomb, have retained their original appearance. Among the cosmetic improvements, the park’s riverside corridors and pavilions have been given a facelift. Walls were repainted and damaged roofs were given fresh black tiles.
New pavilions and squares were built, with some surrounded by traditional Chinese fences, far from residences in an effort to reduce the noise. Also, the park has a paved riverside walking path to allow people to get close to the river scenery.
Plants in the park have been better arranged. A sea of flowers, featuring peonies, cherry blossom, Chinese crab apple trees and coreopsis bushes, blanket the park with a carpet of vibrant colors. Tall trees, including maple and sycamore, offer a shelter from the scorching sun to allow people to enjoy the colors throughout the four seasons.
New monitoring cameras, guide boards, benches and other facilities have been installed and restrooms have become “smart” with Internet access and the number of users monitored.
In the children’s playground, the old recreation facilities were removed and replaced by safe designs. There's also a rooftop garden.
The park, at 1555 Gonghexin Rd, is open 5am to 10pm every day from May to October, and 6am to 9pm daily from November to April. Admission is free.