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Its award-winning Xtreme Park concept is being taken to Sophiatown, where Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo will build a green lung in the historic suburb.

Community ownership was encouraged at the Diepkloof Xtreme Park makeoverCommunity ownership was encouraged at the Diepkloof Xtreme Park makeoverANOTHER Xtreme Park is on the cards starting on the morning of 19 July, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) will work around the clock to set up a striking, lush oasis, this time in the city's historic north-western suburb of Sophiatown.

JCPZ's international award-winning concept of an Xtreme Park makeover was initiated in 2006 in Wilgeheuwel; it is a spinoff of the popular Extreme Home Makeover television series. JCPZ is using the idea as a catalyst to rehabilitate neglected open spaces such as illegal dumping sites, turning them into liveable recreational parks. At the same time, the public is being encouraged to take ownership of their living spaces.

In so doing, JCPZ hopes to rid Joburg of open spaces known to be criminal hot spots, and so create safer communities. It also aims to awaken environmental consciousness.

With the idea of inculcating the spirit of community ownership in mind, JCPZ has invited about 100 people from Sophiatown to help build the park. They include local ward committee representatives and a ward councillor.

Once phase one of the 20 546 m2 park is finished, there will an outdoor gym; park furniture, including benches and bins; a braai area; and, a fenced play area with swings, a see-saw, a platform roundabout and a play mound. It will also have paved walkways, and an irrigation system for watering the trees and lawn that will be planted on the day.

In designing the park, JCPZ kept the culture of re-use, recycle and reduce in mind, and the boulders that will be dug up on site will be re-used to make other elements at the park.

In addition, as Sophiatown is a melting pot of historic events, the public art to be placed in the park will represent its heritage. There will be a sculpture wall, imprinted artwork, historic elements and mural of South Africa's famous writers, musicians, artists and politicians who played a fundamental role in Sophiatown.

In total, phase one will cost R2 699 770.00.

There are five other Xtreme Parks: in Wilgeheuwel, Diepkloof, Claremont, Pimville and the Petrus Molefe Eco Park in Soweto. The Joburg entity also used its Xtreme Park expertise to help set up the Mthatha Waterfall Park in Mthatha in Eastern Cape.

On 10 November 2008, it received a gold award at the UN-endorsed Liveable Communities (LivCom) Awards in Dongguan City, China, for its Diepkloof XtremePark.

Click here for more information and to see what JCPZ is planning to do to transform Sophiatown Park.