A new era beckons for Armagh Harps with work now confirmed to start on Monday on the new £1.4 million clubhouse development.
Armagh I revealed on New Year’s Eve that construction work was imminent with the awarding of a contract for the Abbey Park scheme by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The main contractor will be OB Construction Ltd, based in Portglenone in County Antrim, which also developed the community sports complex for neighbouring O’Neills GFC An Port Mor.
The project has been in the pipeline for a number of years and goes ahead after the securing of a substantial amount of social investment money.
The contract for the development is for a six-month period which means it should be in place during the summer months.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that further money will be sought from funding sources for additional and future facilities at Abbey Park – including pitch improvements and floodlighting – to complement those about to get underway.
The club confirmed that the state-of-the-art development – which will see the demolition of the existing clubhouse and replacement of a two-storey facility – starts on Monday.
It described it as an “exciting time for all associated with Armagh Harps”.
It provided an update on the plans in a statement and explained: “The project will involve the replacement of the existing changing rooms in Abbey Park, which were the result of hard work of past and present club members. The existing facility has served the club so well for the past three decades.
“However the increasing demands on Abbey Park has meant that the club has needed to improve existing facilities.
“The new facility will include four changing rooms, an indoor hall, a Naíscoil, a gymnasium and other fitness rooms and help to meet the increased demands for sport, recreation and culture in the local area.
“The club has ambitious plans for further development in Abbey Park which includes improved fencing and floodlighting, pitch improvements and tarmacking of the car park.
“The development sub-committee will be seeking funding opportunities to achieve this and the continued support of the membership and local community will be greatly appreciated as the club seeks to kit out the new facility and make Abbey Park a modern first class sporting venue you will be proud of.”
Armagh Harps – in finally reaching this stage – paid tribute to its development sub-committee for its hard work over many years, with a special word of thanks to former Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Cathy Rafferty and Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan for all that they had done to help them make their sporting dream a reality.