The fruits of the massive project to regenerate Brooke Park will be unveiled to the public on Saturday, August 6th, with a Community Fun Day to be organised.
The fun day is planned for the grand unveiling, with the ‘Journal’ this week getting a preview of the impressive suite of new and refurbished sport, recreation and leisure facilities and the newly landscaped park with oval pond, double-fronted glass cafe and large children’s park.
Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Parks Manager, Emma Barron, said the final stages of the works are now under way ahead of the grand opening in seven weeks time.
The £5.6m revamp of the 20-acres site got under way back in January, 2015, and there has been a massive amount of work undertaken to bring the park back to its former glory.
The Council appointed Woodvale Construction to deliver the regeneration project, while the WMA Landscape Architects’s team have designed the layout.
At the top end of the park the former tennis courts have been replaced by versatile, new 3G pitches, which are already in use, while the contemporary, wood-clad Contact Sports Centre is all but completed. The Centre features four large training quarters, one of which will become the new gym and another on the first floor the new home of Ring Amateur Boxing Club .
South of this another new feature of the park is the Horticultural & Environmental Training Centre space which the Council will share with Conservation Volunteers, who are relocating from Hawkin Street. There are also growing plots and raised beds to the rear of this.
The former shale pitches have been lawned and will become new grass pitches, while across the park are being resurfaced, with decorative plantings areas throughout.
A new Oval Pond has been inlaid as the central feature of the park, with landscaped flowers and plants surrounding it, including a new rose garden. The pond design is based on the original 1901 pond.
A major new state-of-the-art wooden chalet style Play Garden for children, with swings, slides, see-saw and other attractions is almost finished. This is situated behind the new Gwyn’s Pavilion glass fronted Cafe, with an impressive view of Derry to the front.
At the bottom, the Portico Gate Lodge is being refurbished inside and out and will become a welcome centre for visitors as well as offices.
The grand opening will take place on the same date as the park originally opened back in 1901, although part of it had been in use since 1840 when Gwyn’s Institute home for orphan boys was established. Emma Barron said: “We are working towards an official opening on 6 August. The official opening will be in the morning time and then in the afternoon at about 2pm we are going to have a community, family fun day type event with heritage garden party.”