Council allocates £21,000 to secure refurbishment of play provision at Fountain Street

Thursday, 1 December 2016

COUNCILLORS have agreed a £21,000 spend to upgrade and re-open a playpark in the Head of the Town area.

In recent weeks, padlocks had been thrown up on the gates to the neglected playground in Innisfree Gardens area after it had fallen into a state of disrepair.

Fountain Street Community Development Association (FSCDA), who were responsible for the park, said it had closed the facility because it was not a safe area for children to be playing in.

The community group has been involved in negotiations for some time with the local council with a view to the authority taking over the lease and responsibility for the park and the upgrading of it to suit the under five age bracket.

Those discussions, which began back in August last year, have now concluded and Derry City and Strabane District Council have agreed to take ownership of the lands with a view to regenerating the space.

Yesterday (Tuesday), councillors on the authority's Governance and Strategic Planning Committee agreed to release both design development funding and capital funding to the tune of £21,000 to make the play area safe and to provide plans for it to be re-furbished as a toddler play area under council ownership.

The funding allocation is expected to be ratified at December's full monthly meeting.



The development has been welcomed by local Sinn Féin councillor, Karina Carlin, who also paid tribute to the community group for their work on the issue.

Cllr Carlin, who has been to the forefront of the plans, told the Strabane Weekly News: "Historically, the play area at Fountain Street Community Centre has not been the responsibility of council and has therefore not benefited from the same regular maintenance or upgrades that other play areas in the town have.

"As a result, some of the play equipment along with fencing has fallen into a bad state of disrepair and there have been increasing concerns from parents around the safety of their children using the facilities.

"I, along with Fountain Street Community Development Association, have been in discussions with council officials in an effort to address both the immediate safety issues and to see how the facilities could be re-developed and best maintained on ongoing basis by council assuming ownership and responsibility for them."

She continued: "Work has been ongoing and on the advice of officials the play park has had to be temporarily closed due to the ongoing safety concerns.

"However, the £21,000 that has been recommended by the committee, and hopefully ratified by full council, will allow for the removal of damaged equipment and to secure the perimeter fencing and as well as to provide plans for a refurbished play area and replacement of the astro-turf area behind the community centre which has also fallen into a bad state of dis-repair.

"Given that older children are now well catered for at the excellent facilities at the nearby Patrician Villas park area, the local community group are hoping that the Fountain Street play facility can be refurbished to cater for toddlers and younger children which would also provide additional facilities to complement the excellent Sure Start provision which Fountain Street has."


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