A new skate park, ball court, open-air gym, pavilion and community garden, all set against the backdrop of the Wandle, are just some of the improvements planned for Wandle Park as it closes for regeneration.
The improved layout and facilities spring from last year's "Parks to be proud of" campaign, coordinated by Croydon Council. It will be funded with just under £2m in support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, under the Parks for People scheme; the Environment Agency; and the Mayor of London, as part of his Help A London Park scheme.
To enable the extensive works to go ahead, the park will close on 9 January, with the task of bringing the Wandle back to the surface of the park, from its underground culvert, one of the first items on the timetable. A relatively small brook along that section of its course, the Wandle will provide a pleasing visual element to the rejuvenated park.
The scheme will transform Wandle Park through the restoration of key original Victorian features, including the Wandle itself, ornamental planting, a bandstand, a water fountain, historic walls and paths, and part of the boating lake.
New facilities will serve the needs of the present-day community, while others will be upgraded. The existing play space will be revamped to provide equipment for imaginative play opportunities, and the 1950s' pavilion will be upgraded to provide a café, learning resources, and toilets.
Improved changing facilities and a ball court will also be returned to the park.
A dynamic series of cultural and heritage-related projects is planned, as well as a range of educational opportunities provided throughout the project, including during the construction period.
The skate park and ball court will be ready for public use in April, with the rest of the park expected to be reopened at the end of 2012.
Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for customer services, culture and sport, said: "This is an exciting time for the people of Broad Green and Waddon specifically, and for anybody else who enjoys using Wandle Park.
"Thanks to innovative thinking and bold decision making, the park is to undergo a major transformation, the centrepiece of which will be the Wandle, having been brought back to the surface after too many years underground.
"But that's just one element of what will be a fantastic place for families from all over Croydon when it's completed - with all the other facilities that are being introduced or refurbished, Wandle Park is setting a pretty high benchmark for park design."