Concrete plant makes room for Keerdokpark in Mechelen (OKRA)

The development of the Keerdok site and its surroundings is in full swing. The existing shops have been moved, the construction of the parking building is underway, the bridges are located over Dylen … After the opening of the Keerdok car park at the end of this year, the next phase is in sight, whereby i.a. The current car park on Rode Kruisplein will be converted into a new city car park, and a park of around one hectare is being built on the Inter-Beton site. This in combination with housing, trade and recreation.

Councilor for Public Works and Nature and Green Development Patrick Princen explains: “At the end of 2024, we will be able to enjoy a beautiful green oasis at Keerdok on the banks of the Dijle. The park, which will officially bear the name Keerdok Park, will be a fine balance between the town character of Keerdok itself and the new district on one side and the rugged nature character along Dylen. This paved industrial zone will turn into a wonderful place to relax for Mechelaar and a hotspot for biodiversity. “

In OKRA’s design of Keerdokparken, the area around the upcoming neighborhood café will continue to refer to the old concrete factory that stood here. Here follow different types of perennials and evergreen plants and flowering grasses structure in the former sand storage areas. In terms of planting, this includes less frequently mowed lawns, standard (fruit) trees, fruit-bearing shrubs and an ‘experience stripe’ with flowering perennials. Play and sports areas are also included in this structure.

The rest of the park becomes more natural with places for water storage, various habitats for small animals and of course lots of greenery. It results in an inviting, lush green and rugged public space for the city.

Big Tiny Forest®

In addition to extra greenery, the new park is also a softening project: In addition to the concrete paths, as little paving is applied as possible. In addition, relief is also used, which strengthens sight lines and the connection with Dylen, but also wadis, which enable rainwater infiltration.

Because there are currently no residents on site, their input cannot yet be incorporated into the design. But ideas from Mechelaar will have an impact on the park’s appearance, says councilor Princen: “In the middle of the park there will be a densely vegetated mini forest of 400 m², twice the size of a classic Tiny Forest®. This is an idea that came from De Grond der Dingens bane, and I am very happy that this is being realized. In addition, the final interpretation of the experience strip will only be determined after a participation process with the district’s future residents. This part of the park preserves the recognizable pattern from the former storage site for the concrete plant. The different zones on that strip are ideal for a diverse interpretation, in line with the park’s offerings. “

There is also an educational component to the park development together with the Rivierenland Regional Landscape. Among other things, they are working on education around Tiny Forest® with a link to the nearby ‘wetlands’ in the Wattland project (Eandiswijk), a secondary hotel and facilities for the swallows.

The park zone is being realized by the city of Mechelen, but fully funded by the private developers. The total estimate for the construction of the park is 1.7 million euros.

Living between two Dylers

In addition to the park, the housing project D’Ile Malines will also be realized on the Inter-Beton site. Commissioned by project developer Global Estate Group, architect Studio Jan Vermeulen was responsible for the design of two new buildings with a total of 50 homes, primarily apartments. The new construction on the new bridge for mixed traffic will have a catering company on the ground floor with a terrace facing the park.

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