It’s play time in Kilrea after a brand new Village Park was launched in the town.
Coleraine Borough Council commissioned a Regeneration and Development Action Plan for Kilrea in 2010 and the work included, improving the rural town’s connection with the River Bann, enhancing the Diamond area and creating a new Village Park.
The park and RIVER Project was launched during Community Relations Week.
Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor George Duddy praised the partnership approach adopted by the funding and statutory bodies who worked with Council to make the project happen.
Making special reference to the two local primary schools and the people of Kilrea, the Mayor said, ‘You have shaped these requirements which will allow for better infrastructure and public amenities in Kilrea.
“I sincerely hope that this work will contribute making the village a better place to live and work and provide opportunities for economic development in the tourism sector.”
Completed works have included a “make over” of the Diamond area in the Village centre, with cobble effect parking being used to tie in more with the surrounding historic streetscape.
The Diamond in Kilrea dates back to 1750, its street layout meeting in a Central Square is typical of a planned town. Refurbished lighting, interpretation and new street furniture which adds to the general ambience of the area.
This project also included a new cycle-footpath, linking Bridge Street via Bann ending at the newly refurbished Portneal Riverside Amenity.
The facility on the Lower Bann has a jetty and is located adjacent to a seven acre mixed woodland surrounding Portneal Lodge which is a popular beat for anglers and walkers alike. Additional landscaping and feature lighting is planned for the Bann Road and Riverside Amenity which will be funded by the RIVER project and managed by the North East Partnership and monitored by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Chairman of the North East Partnership Alderman PJ McAvoy, paid tribute to all those who had played a part in delivering this quality investment project: “As Chairman of the North East Partnership, I am delighted that we in combination with our colleagues in the North East Rural Development Programme and Coleraine Borough Council, have successfully delivered this joint project.
“These improvements will help to ensure that Kilrea is a vibrant place in which to live and work. Our thanks go to the project promoters Coleraine Borough Council, NEP and RDP officials and of course to DARD and SEUPB as the project funders.”
While work in Kilrea was progressing, The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, through the Causeway Communities Engagement Programme, worked with children from both St Columba’s Primary School and Kilrea Primary School to design a piece of art work for the new park. Primary 7 classes came together to talk about the shared history of the village and local artist Conor Larkin spent a day with the children supporting them during their work based on the theme, ‘What does Kilrea mean to me?’
The children agreed that their hands best symbolised the concept of ‘sharing’. Every child involved in the project contributed their own drawing in the shape of a hand. The children’s concept of sharing hands has also been incorporated into a plaque in the park unveiled at the launch.