Community push to develop Gortnaghey park

Residents of Gortnaghey, including Eithne Burke from Gortnaghey Community Centre, with residents at a community event on Sunday.
Residents of Gortnaghey, including Eithne Burke from Gortnaghey Community Centre, with residents at a community event on Sunday.

Residents in Gortnaghey gathered at a community event on Sunday to have their say about plans to further develop local park facilities.

Funding through a number of programmes has resulted in a multi activity hub, known locally as Gortnaghey Park.

Encompassing close to four acres, the area consists of a 3G pitch, play facilities and walking paths. It is well used by the local residents and groups, including the school and football clubs.

However, Eithne Burke, the co-ordinator at Gortnaghey Community Centre, said the area needs to be further developed.

“We have submitted an application to the Lottery Space and Places for further devlopment of the multi activity hub we have to the rear of the centre. We did what we could with the funding that was available at the time, but if we can access this funfing we can, I suppose, finish it off, and so it can be used to its full capacity.”

Eithne said the application is through to stage two, but further consultation was needed with residents She said funding could be in the region of £100,000.

“The green area at the bottom is just lying there, not doing it.

“It’s just bog land and serving no purpose and we want to make that serviceable,” said Eithne. “We want to put paths in, erect lights on the paths so it can be safer for people wanting to walk at night. We also want to add more socially inclusive equipment for children and adults with disabilities. We want to target all ages. This is a multi activity hub that was put there to address a shortfall in our area, but it really has widened its reach and connected us with other communities. We have football clubs coming here, children coming on their bikes, which wouldn’t have happened before. Developing the green area will open up the park more.”

Eithne said the Centre has received support from Council applying for grants and help with maintenance, and said: “We had to push ahead ourselves and do it. It’s three and three quarters acres of ground out there and we would like to finish it off and open it up to a wider audience and make it safer.”

Local residents who attended the consultation event on Sunday said the existing facilities are excellent, but further development would make the park more user friendly for all ages, and for children and adults with disabilities.

Patricia Ward walks around the park and thinks it is fantastic, but she would like to see lights erected so she could use it during the winter.

“Eithne deserves a medal for all that she has done. She is fantastic, and Gortnaghey is lucky to have all we have,” said Patricia.

Philomena McCloskey agrees the park needs more socially inclusive play equipment and facilities, “and parts of it need upgraded”.

Noeleen O’Hara has four children who use the park. She also uses it to go walking.

“Getting lights up is crucial, especially during the winter.

“It’s brilliant what we have but small changes, upgrades, would make a big difference,” said Noeleen.

Serena Gallagher from Gortnaghey said one thing she would like to see is more equipment and facilities for children and adults with disabilities, including her daughter, Croíse.

“Croíse loves being in the park, and it would be great to have equipment she could use.

“What’s there is great but it does need enhancing,” said Serena.

Eithne said the outcome of the application will be known in October.