Navi Mumbai: The civic body in its Nerul lake beautification drive has decided to invest Rs 17 crore to develop a fitness park around it. On the plans is a 1.5-km cycling track, a 2.6-km jogging path, an amphitheatre and an open air gym. It will be a boon for Happy Street enthusiasts, who have to wait for Sunday to pedal on a stretch of land without the fear of being mowed down by speeding vehicles. The cycling track, which officials said will be ready by August, is set to be 16-ft-wide and will encircle the lake. The 2.6-km jogging track will have the same width and will be open to runners from April. “Earlier, we had thought to allow cyclists on the jogging track but decided to make two separate paths. It will come up on the right of the main water body and on the opposite end of Palm Beach Road,” said Mohan Dagaonkar, city engineer.
This arrangement, however, is to not only conserve the depleting mangrove cover but is part of a wider plan to make the city more tourist friendly. “These tracks will appeal to our rapidly increasing expat population,” said an official involved with the project. The idea, sources said, was to use the migratory birds as a tourist attraction, as they visit the lake every winter.
The jogging track, officials said, will use stamp concrete that will give the track a wooden floor appearance. It will make the track not only picturesque but will also be easy on the ankles of serious runners.
Also part of the development plan is to clean Nerul lake and erect light poles around it. “We also plan to allow recreational fishing at the water body. But it will be strictly monitored,” said an NMMC official.
The park will be surrounded by a periphery wall to keep out anti-social elements.
“Once a jogger enters the park he will see a huge statue—the jewel of Navi Mumbai. It will be a round monument meant to depict the city. Very close to that will be a 1,000-seater amphitheatre. We will invite student and professional groups to perform there,” said an NMMC official. The civic body is also planning to build an open-air gym similar to the one in Koparkhairane to complete the experience. “We also will provide parking for 100 cars, so we can avoid traffic jams on weekends,” said Dagaonkar.