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Unimpressed: Blayke Cook, 9, is not happy about the state of Howard Fowles Park. Picture: Sylvia Liber

The kids of Warrawong have scored a slam dunk in their fight to upgrade the dilapidated Howard Fowles Park.

Initial work might only involve a new net and backboard on the basketball court but, for a community wanting to rid the area of a negative stereotype, supporters say it's a big step in the right direction.

Last week, the Mercury reported the Bundaleer Youth Committee's push to improve the Northcliffe Drive recreational area.
The park's outdated play equipment, which is broken, sharp and rusted in sections, has parents on high alert, while a small section of fence is all that separates the area from the busy road.

A nearby half basketball court has no markings, meaning users bring chalk and draw the outlines themselves. The area also offers nowhere to sit or go to the toilet.

In a win for the Bundaleer Estate community, Wollongong City Council says minor work at the park is in the pipeline.
"The park is due to be maintained [grass mowed] in the next few weeks, weather permitting," a council spokesman said.
"Council is also planning to replace the backboard and net on the nearby basketball court."

The council will also investigate marking lines on the court. The spokesman said the park's play equipment was a Housing NSW asset, however the council was willing to work with the department about future renewal. A Family and Community Services spokesman said the department was "exploring solutions with the community to resolve the concerns raised".

"FACS is arranging an inspection of the Howard Fowles Park and will liaise with Wollongong City Council to assess the condition of the playground" the spokesman said.

Felicity Green, 13, told the Mercury last week the park was "filthy" and was a poor reflection on the community she lived in.
The sentiment was echoed by youth committee supporter, and Barnardos community development worker at Bundaleer, Lisa Fleming.

Ms Fleming was overwhelmed by the plans when told by the Mercury. "That is fantastic ... just amazing," she said.

(This article was first published in the Illawarra Mercury and was written by Andrew Pearson.)

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