The long-awaited transformation of Union Terrace Gardens will begin within weeks.
Aberdeen City Council leaders visited the Victorian public space yesterday to announce that the project, which will cost an estimated £25.7 million and take at least 18 months, will begin on Monday, September 9.
Performing a ceremonial turf-cutting, council co-leader Jenny Laing pledged that the upgrade would respect the history of the park – which dates back to 1879.
She said: “It was important that the design, and the project going forward, meets the needs of the people in Aberdeen today and future generations.
“But it respects the historic heritage of the garden as well.
“The project we have managed to secure does just that.
“It provides increased accessibility and amenities, and when we open it both those living here and those who come to visit here will welcome the improvements that have been made.”
The first phase of the project will including the closure of the slip road onto Union Terrace from Rosemount Viaduct, which will become the site of one of three new pavilions.
On Monday, August 26, a permanent “stopping up” order will close the stretch in question.
Fellow council co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said the project will be a “great addition” to the city centre.
“In transforming Union Terrace Gardens, we are making history in the heart of Aberdeen.
“P&J Live has just opened, the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery will follow in November, and with this we are about to embark a project that will further electrify the city centre,” he added.
Marie Boulton, the council’s culture spokeswoman, said: “The design is a direct response to how people wanted their city to evolve.
“That we are ready to start work is truly momentous.”
She added the new design will encourage more people from and outside the city to turn out for events.
Design features will include a new accessible walkway route into the gardens from Union Street, and a lift bringing people down to the upper level through a new entrance building on Union Terrace at the Burns Monument.
The park’s “grand staircase”, a central part of the new accessible route into the gardens from Rosemount Viaduct, will also be restored.
The transformation is expected to take between 18 and 21 months to complete.
Leader of the council’s SNP opposition group, Stephen Flynn, last night pointed out that the work would begin “almost exactly two years late” and said it was “already approaching £9million over budget”.
Scottish Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, Ross Thomson, added: “The people of Aberdeen have been very patient waiting for the regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens.
“This project will be a much-needed shot in the arm for Aberdeen, improving the heart of the city.”