What used to be the bare grass plane that was James Coke Park, has finally been redeveloped. Once used only by employees of Norwood Mall for lunch breaks, it is now a magnet for families with small children, good pet owners, besotted couples, spirited packs of teenage boys and girls, and happy shoppers looking to put their feet up and their bags down.
The new playground, taking over from a measly slide and swing set, is much more substantial, and also fenced off from the rest of the park, with its own grass area and sheltered picnic table. It is dog unfriendly, and has the signs to prove it. The playground is partly sheltered by a gorgeous River Red Gum, and provides ample space for children to run wild without the risk of injury from cars on the adjacent Coke St.
Coke St provides patrons with two hour parking if you can't find a space in the Mall's car park, which is often congested. Keep in mind that the fair City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters now charges $44 for parking fines, as the old $22 just wasn't cutting it, so don't overstay your welcome.
James Coke Park has plenty of lush green grass to lounge on, but also provides a few benches for those who want to get close, but not that close, to nature. These areas are shaded by some handsome Canary Island Date Palms, which in my opinion greatly add to the appeal of the park.
The park also provides an educational experience, with large tiles placed along the walkway depicting important details of the park's name sake, James Coke's, life. It also promotes recycling and good health, with a clean, and attractive, water station. Here you can have a sip of filtered water from the fountain, or fill up your water bottle with the two spouts on either side provided for exactly that purpose.
More street lamps would greatly increase the park's safety, as at the moment it's way too eerie at night, making you want to sprint past it, or through it, while looking frantically over your shoulder. Credit, however, must be given for the fact that the lamps are powered by solar panels, so at least your being terrified is good for our environment.