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Disused play park targeted by vandals

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Disused play park targeted by vandals thumbnailCouncillor Karina Carlin and Gina Devine, Fountain Street Community, surveying the damage to the astro-turf at the disused play area at Innisfree Gardens

AN impassioned appeal has been made to vandals to stop targeting a disused play park which is in-line for a makeover.

Plans were officially unveiled last month for the creation of a new green space and toddler play area at Innisfree Gardens in the Head of the Town area.

In recent years the existing play area, adjacent to the community centre, has fallen into a state of disrepair with Fountain Street Community Development Association (FSCDA), who had been responsible for the park, closing the facility because it was not a safe area for children to be playing in.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has taken ownership of the land with plans to now in place to regenerate the neglected space and create a new park for local children to suit the under five age bracket.

Since the plans were revealed however, vandals have targeted the space by ripping up the astro-turf and causing an "unsightly mess".

Strabane Sinn Féin councillor, Karina Carlin - who has been to the forefront of the campaign for better play facilities in the area - has called on the young people responsible to desist from further vandalism.

She has also asked that the local community be vigilant and for parents to ensure their children are kept out of the site.

Speaking against the vandalism, councillor Carlin said: "The site is due to be cleared by council shortly in advance of redevelopment. Indeed, council have been successful in securing a sum of money for the area to be cleared and made safe.

"However, a number of young people have recently entered the site and ripped up the artificial turf, leaving a terrible and unsightly mess.

"The redevelopment of the area is only at planning stage and so residents who have to look at this area every day have contacted me and also our local community centre to complain.

"Some have also expressed concern that any new facilities may similarly suffer vandalism and there is considerable anger locally at the mindless destruction."

She added: "The Head of the Town community suffered greatly over the years and needs investment and improvements.

"Many projects have already been undertaken by the local community and council, the Housing Executive, and the government departments to enhance the area's appearance and facilities so it is disheartening to witness vandalism of this nature."

Cllr Carlin said she hopes that by bringing the issue to public attention, that it will prevent any further future incidents.

"Our young people have embraced the new Patrician Villas park with enthusiasm and pride and so I would hope that there will be no repeat of this vandalism at Innisfree park now or in the future," she added.

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