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The Tainan Park Improvement Project Phase IV

Tainan Park is located in the North District of Tainan and covers an area of over 132,000 square meters. It is the biggest and oldest park of Tainan City and has the largest number of old trees, earning it the nickname, “The Lung of Tainan”. For local residents and visitors alike, Tainan Park is a popular spot for resting, exercising, or simply taking hearty gulps of crisp fresh air.

Built during the Japanese colonial period, Tainan Park was renamed “Chungshan Park” after World War II, but reverted to its original name in 2001. Officially opened in 1917, the century-old park has accompanied countless Tainan residents in their growing years and is forever etched in their collective memory.

Fun-filled nature that is good for both quiet and vigorous activities

Initially planned to serve as an experimental tropical forest, an array of tree species was planted: Royal Poinciana, North Indian Rosewood, Siamese Cassia, Sacred Fig, Monkeypod, Weeping fig, Gliricidia Sepium, Bishopwood, etc. These trees have since flourished into a green forest of lush vegetation, thanks to the balmy climate and abundance of sunlight and moisture. In 2007, Tainan City Government designated 78 of the Park’s trees (comprising 26 tree species) as “Precious Ancient Trees”, among which ranked a century-old Sacred Fig and the biggest Monkeypod tree in Tainan City.

Tainan Park is filled with scenic attractions all year round. Over a hundred camel’s foot trees flower at the same time, blossoming into a dazzling pink sea. The occasional squirrel will scurry across the forest grounds, forming a most picturesque scene. In the midst of a landscape formed by fragrant flowers and lush trees, you can catch glimpses of the graceful Swallow Pond. An arch bridge leads to a pavilion that stands at the center of the pond. You are welcome to take a quiet stroll across it, taking your time to admire the lotus flowers and water lilies floating quietly on the water below, or watching as swans and fish make their way leisurely across the water. Old banyan trees and weeping figs line the sides, forming a beautiful contrast with the reflections in the pond.

Reminiscent of the commander stage in schools, Kangle Stage is built in the shape of an arc, and is painted in rainbow colors. Set conspicuously against a vast lawn, it is a crowd magnet that frequently hosts performances, speeches and other activities. During weekends, the air is filled with youthful fun and laughter. Children enjoy themselves at the fun-packed playground and skating rink. On the grassy field, visitors can be spotted sitting in groups, lying down or chasing one another merrily.

Featuring coral stone walls and fish-scale shingles, the quaint, fairytale-like security room is an intriguing piece of old architecture worth visiting. The Zhongdao Chongwen Archway is the epitome of sculptural beauty, and ranks as a Class 3 national historical monument. It was erected during the Qing dynasty to honor Lin Chao-ying’s generous funding toward a Confucian temple’s restoration. The historical structure evokes a sense of nostalgia that seems to whisk visitors back in time to the ancient past.

A revamp to give the Park a new lease of life

Tainan Park has always possessed excellent natural and cultural landscapes. However, these advantages were comprised over the years by unsystematic, poorly planned repair and maintenance works. The absence of crosswalks at the intersection of Gongyuan Road and Gongyuan North Road often placed pedestrians in danger. The Park faced problems like soil hardening and soil erosion; aging facilities at the playground and the skating rink had fallen into disrepair; tree-lined walkways were poorly paved, forming a safety hazard; the dilapidated restrooms had ventilation problems.

In an all-out, holistic effort to solve these problems, the city government mobilized manpower and material resources, and picked up where the previous phases of the Park’s improvement project had left off to implement Phase IV, giving the Park a much-needed overhaul. This revamp was conducted on the northwest side of the Park, comprising improvement works on the environment of the parkette, the playground and the security room; research and conservation works on the ecological landscape and old trees; the redefining of on-site traffic and walkway layouts; preventive measures for soil erosion; restroom restoration; installation of accessible facilities for the disabled and illumination for the entire premise.

For visitors who want to enjoy the scenery or take a leisurely stroll, Tainan Park is now more accessible than ever. It features well-paved brick walkways, paths with cozy stone and railway tie details, undulating “wavy” footpaths and parking space allocated for motorcycles. An extensive park-wide loop system designed with jogging and walking in mind has been put in place to ameliorate the Park’s once chaotic internal path routing system. Other highlights of Phase IV include an expanded parkette with additional stairs leading to the library’s parking lot, an overhaul of the playground and the skating rink that have since become major attractions for kids, beautifully upgraded restrooms that encourage usage, and additional water features ranging from splashing fountains to cascading man-made waterfalls.

In a bid to return to nature and allow the unrestrained growth of trees, ill-devised flower beds and pavements were also removed. The city government introduced the ecological system of multilayer planting to areas that were too densely forested and dark, adopting unique landscaping ideas to create suitable habitats for all living things in the Park. Watch as Tainan Park comes to life with buzzing insects, singing birds and acrobatic squirrels jumping from tree to tree.

Coexistence of man and nature to enjoy quality life

It is worth noting that, in order to achieve the ultimate goal of efficient park usage, Tainan City Government sought to meet the citizens’ needs for fitness and recreational facilities by tirelessly engaging members of the public in the Park improvement project. The revamp is a representation of the local community spirit and culture, and an integration of the residents’ life experiences and sentiments, that promotes sustainable coexistence of man and nature.

Under the Tainan City Government’s restoration efforts, the century-old Tainan Park works cultural refinement and artisan’s originality into its stunning natural landscape, drastically bolstering its popularity. The Park is now closely bundled with the shopping districts of Beimen, Xiaobei and Ximen to form a bustling retail hub that boosts the commercial value of surrounding locations. As a result, Tainan residents can now enjoy a high-quality, sophisticated, clean and green urban lifestyle.