Pittelose Park - A hidden treasure in Assen
Not every citizen of Assen knows about Pittelose park. It’s a bit separated from the rest of the city, and people have to go out of their way to discover this wide, green park with lots of opportunities to meet and do sports.
Unfortunately, the park has endured much vandalism in the past several years. Some of the benches show signs of wear, tear, and damage, and some benches had even to be removed because of the irreparable damage that was been done. In addition, the signs to mark the walking routes through the park have been damaged as well.
The skate park in Pittelose Park could use some maintenance but nevertheless it’s well used by skaters and defines the character of the park. The trees surrounding it are filled with old shoes, thrown up there by the skaters when they are worn through. It’s not an unknown phenomenon. Shoe trees can be found all over the world near a skate park, and so also in Assen.
Many of the people in the neighbourhood Pittelo who know the park, have fond memories of it.
“People tell us that the park is important for the neighbourhood. They reminisce about the old times and would like to have the park put back to its former glory. It’s our goal to bring some of those old days back again, but in a new way, with input from the residents”, says Janine Rinsampessy, policy advisor for the social domain in the City of Assen.
Taking notes and talking in the skate park.
Neighbours and skater kids
To gather input on what people in the neighbourhood wanted, representatives from the city invited residents for a walk on the 12th of March. The aim was to learn more about their needs for meeting places, and to gather new ideas.
“We were initially focused on the age group 44-55, but we have decided to work together with broader target groups to reach more people”, says Eric Lanooy, policy advisor on public space maintenance in the City of Assen.
100 interested people were invited to come along for the walk, and around twelve people joined. In addition, during the walk kids in the skate park chimed in with their wishes for the park.
“We got some very nice ideas. The next step is to develop those in co-creation sessions. It is nice that the community is collaborating on this”, says Lanooy.
Eric Lanooy (left), Janine Rinsampessy and Sanne Jones-Ploegstra in the City of Assen.
Community centre for everyone
In the Pittelo neighbourhood there is also a community centre “De Maasstee” that exists in the same relative obscurity as the park. In its time, the centre was bought by the residents for one euro, and the board, consisting of elderly people, have to do most things themselves.
“The community centre is vulnerable, and they don’t have many visitors. Mainly older people use it now, as it used to be a centre for the elderly. We want to work together with them to strengthen the organisation in the neighbourhood”, says Rinsampessy.
She wants to continue work to reach especially young people in Assen and says that meeting the people in Pitelose park was really fruitful.