Starting again

From the ashes: Parramatta Park Trust executive director Suellen Fitzgerald hopes the cafe will reopen next summer. Picture: Geoff Jones

From the ashes: Parramatta Park Trust executive director Suellen Fitzgerald hopes the cafe will reopen next summer. Picture: Geoff Jones

Dreams were gutted when the popular Parramatta Park cafe was destroyed by fire on Boxing Day last year.

Eight months on, hope has risen from the ashes with plans for it to reopen next summer. Parramatta Park Trust has put out an expressions of interest tender for the reconstruction and leasing of the cafe and restaurant. “We’re looking for someone with a vision to make it a wonderful place,” executive director Suellen Fitzgerald told the Sun.

“Fifty per cent of the cafe burnt down so we’re looking for someone who can work with us to renovate and rebuild the cafe and shares our vision. The cafe is in a very pretty spot along the river and across from the stadium, so it’s well positioned to be the centre of the action.”

The tender states the trust’s preference for the successful proponent to be responsible for the design and construction of the new premises at its own cost. The trust will make a financial contribution to cover the base building reinstatement.

Ms Fitzgerald said the cafe was sorely missed. “A lot of people have been in contact, upset that something was lost in such a way,” she said.

“But everyone who knew what happened has been very understanding.”

A man, 22, was arrested in February and charged with intentionally destroying property by fire. The case is currently before the courts.

An Asian street food truck has been popular with park visitors since it began trading there last month. Two more food trucks started last weekend. There’s also the recent addition of the Grounds Keeper Cafe near the George Street Gatehouse. “It has been extremely popular, especially with mothers’ groups, while the food trucks have made up for the loss of the cafe,” Ms Fitzgerald said

The destroyed part of the cafe has been demolished.

“There’s a lot of construction to be done but we’re hopeful of having the cafe up and running in the 2018-19 summer,” she said.

  • Expressions of interest close October 6. Details: tenders.nsw.gov.au.
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