RIVER development set to transform Kilrea area

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KILREA can look forward to a bright new era - thanks toa number of exciting developments in the rural town.

The urban facelift is being made poissible thanks to the Development Services Unit of Coleraine Borough Council which secured funding under a European Union INTERREG IVA project entitled RIVER and the North East Region Rural Development Programme (NEP RDP).

Local councillor, Roisin Loftus said: “The enhanced quality infrastructure such as the new family recreation and play facility; the increased improvements in the Diamond; the new cycle path along the Bann road are all positive steps towards enhancing the appeal of this unique rural village for residents as well as visitors.”

Managed by the North East Partnership, and monitored by the Special EU Programmes Body, this INTERREG IVA funded programme RIVER, has provided four partner councils - Ballymoney, Ballymena, Coleraine and cross-border partner Cavan with a £1.3 million to improve rural towns and villages on their inland waterways - in this case Portglenone, Drumaheglis, and Kilrea on the Lower Bann and Belturbet on the River Erne, which makes up the Shannon-Erne waterway. The project has the added bonus of having the involvement of Community Rescue Service as a partner.

The volunteer-led water rescue charity have received new radio communication equipment and aim to increase their number of trained volunteers this year.

Welcoming the developments, Kilrea Community Forum member Nicole Lavery said:“When I first moved to Kilrea from southern Germany over ten years ago, there was limited communal places for people, especially young mothers, to meet. There were a couple of playparks that were neither safe nor well kept, the new playpark is a much needed place for different generations to meet together .

The new playpark will have a direct impact on local business also.

The new cycle path from the town to the Portlodge marina and the walkway along the marina hope to minimialise the use of the car, take advantage of a great resource on their doorstep- the Lower River Bann - and encourage families outdoors.

Nicole adds: “Coming from Europe where there are endless walks and no limits to physical freedom, living here it was very difficult being surrounded by so much beautiful green countryside and not being able to access it.

“We were tied to the car, if you wanted a pint of milk, you had to pack the children in the car and drive one mile down the road- you couldn’t get on your bike with your child and cycle to the shop to get it..

“It’s all about all sections of the community coming together- local businesses, council, citizens. There is much more to be done but it’s a great start.

“I am excited about the new developments, because Kilrea is a lovely rural village with so much potential”

There has been some traffic disruption in the town as part of the ongoing works project.

Coleraine Borough Council says it is looking forward to completing all works by late summer.