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Design team named for £5.5M park scheme

PLANS for a £5.5 million redevelopment of the People’s Park in Portadown have taken a major step forward with the appointment of a design team.

It is envisaged that, when completed in two years time,  it will include – amongst a variety of facilities – several football pitches, a multi-use games area, outdoor gym, play park and a lake.

The work also includes an enhancement of the tunnel area.

Hamilton Architects are the integrated consultancy design team, while Portadown Councillor Kenneth Twyble has been elected chair of the steering group, which oversees the project monitoring both the timetable and work progress of the park.

The project is part financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Funds through the EU’s PEACE III Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

“I’m delighted that I’ve been elected as chair,” said Mr Twyble, “This project is a real challenge for council. The £5.5 million can only be spent on the park and by March 2015. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done but I’m heartened by the expertise on the steering group”.

The steering group, known as the Space Steering Group, includes members from all the main political parties, the SEUPB, Translink, DSD, DRD and Portadown Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, Louise McCrory is now the community development manager, whose responsibility is delivering the project. She is responsible for managing the community development team and neighbourhood renewal areas.

She will be working closely with Hamilton Architects. They look at the masterplan, see what’s needed and, through the proper process, appoint the contractors accordingly.

Sinn Fein Councillor Gemma McKenna described the firm’s appointment as a significant step forward.

“The redevelopment of the People’s Park is an important major project and it is essential that we plan properly, so as to receive the maximum benefit from the £5 million plus EU Peace funding,” she said.

“The work to be carried out now will benefit, not only the current residents of the borough, but future generations as well.”

Ms McKenna explained that the remit for the design team was to ensure that the completed park was a welcoming place that everyone could enjoy.

Pointing out that the design team would review and develop the previous masterplan, which outlined the facilities required within the Park, the councillor said: “This is an exciting project for Portadown and indeed the entire Borough of Craigavon, and the completion date for the planned work is June 2015.”

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