WORK has recommenced on a long-awaited new children’s play park in Newtownstewart.
Construction of the facility, located at a site adjacent to Mourne Park and Mourne Walk in the town, had commenced earlier this year but was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Contractors TD McKane & Sons have moved back on site to resume work and create a new park that will provide a range of play equipment suitable for children of all ages and abilities.
Weather permitting it is anticipated that the project will be completed by the end of this year.
The new play equipment will include a multi-unit with towers, climbing nets and slides, a wheelchair accessible ground-flush roundabout, swings with adapted inclusive swing seats, toddler swings, basket swings, ziplines and much more.
On Friday Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, councillor Brian Tierney was on hand to welcome the contractors back on site.
Structural engineering consultancy firm Taylor & Boyd have been appointed to progress the scheme which Mayor says will be an excellent addition for families and children in the town to visit and enjoy the outdoors.
“This is great news for the people of Newtownstewart and will bring significant benefits to the entire local community in terms of leisure and play provision," he said.
"This exciting project is also reflective of council’s ongoing commitment to support investment in parks and sports facilities throughout the city and district.
"The new development will also play a key role in promoting social interaction and physical activity among our children and young people.”
With a price tag of £350,000, news that the state-of-the-art play area is coming to fruition marks the culmination of a tireless campaign by the local community spanning over 20 years.
Amanda McConomy, a local community representative from the town who has been to the fore of the campaigning, says park will be a welcome asset.
“I’m delighted and really over the moon that works will be resuming again on the new play park," she said.
"These state-of-the-art facilities will provide a safe play area for local children of all ages and abilities to enjoy. I am in no doubt that the new park will act as a focal point for children to play and forge new friendships – whilst also ensuring they remain healthy and active."
The project is being delivered by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from funding allocated by Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
Newtownstewart was identified by Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership as a strategic Village Renewal Project, with £202,865 in grant funding set aside for the new play park.
The funding is part of the Rural Development Programme funded by DAERA and identified through public consultation and the ‘Cluster Village Plan’.
Council is also contributing £125,000 to the new facilities through its ongoing commitment to investing in play.
Mary Hunter, chair of Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, said: "The allocation of this funding by the Partnership will help to create a brand new play resource for the children of Newtownstewart, providing them with a space to engage, interact and play.
"The project also contributes towards our core aims under the Village Renewal scheme to revitalise and bring vibrancy back into our rural communities enabling them to grow and prosper."