The long-awaited transformation of Derry’s Brooke Park is to start next year thanks to a £1.45 million funding boost.
The regeneration project - which will cost a total of £5m. - has now been given the green light following confirmation of grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The funding will see a total regeneration of the park including its parkland, sports and leisure facilities including a new Contact Sports Centre and a 7-a- side multi use games area.
Work on the wider regeneration of Brooke Park will mean the creation of some exciting new features in the park, including a state of the art play garden as well as the restoration of historic features such as the Robert Ferguson statue.
It is also planned to bring forward the development of the Outdoor Events Area this year.
Welcoming the news, the city’s Mayor, Councillor Kevin Campbell, said the award will make a positive difference in the area.
“Council is delighted to receive this very significant funding award as the Regeneration of Brooke Park has been on the agenda for a number of years.
“As Mayor, and in support of Council’s Parks Development Programme 2012-2013, I look forward to the commencement of this regeneration project. It will leave a lasting legacy for the people of the city.”
Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, also welcomed the award: “The planned works not only carry huge social community benefits but will also preserve its rich history and fantastic listed structures that date back as far as 1840. With Derry’s adoption of the mantle of UK City of Culture in 2013, this announcement is timely, with the park set to host various planned community events.”
John Kelpie, Strategic Director with Derry City Council, said the scale of the regeneration project would be significant.
“The regeneration proposals are extensive, and will transform this important green space in keeping with the historical character of the park, including the restoration of some old features, and creation of some state of the art facilities.”
As part of the plans, the gate lodge will be opened to the public and used as a venue to tell the ‘Brooke Park Story’.
It is also proposed that the much loved Oval Pond is restored to the park, and families will be able to enjoy some great new facilities in the specially designed family friendly area at Gwyn’s Pavilion.
Archdeacon Robert Miller, who is also Rector of nearby Christ Church Parish on Infirmary Road, has welcomed news of the park refurbishment.
Archdeacon Miller said: “Christ Church Parish Church borders directly onto Brooke Park.
“I am absolutely delighted that Derry City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund have shown great imagination for the future of the Park.
“This represents a belief in the future. Brooke Park is a wonderful resource for the people of our local community.”