THE NORTH FERMANAGH area is set to receive a massive boost through an ambitious £1m shared combined space project encompassing Ederney and Kesh.
The community associations in the two villages and Fermanagh District Council have come together to create the North Fermanagh Valley Park project, which will dramatically improve facilities on offer for residents if funding is secured.
The plan is to develop around 20 acres in Ederney on combined land owned by Fermanagh District Council, St Michael’s Diocesan Trust and Ederney GAA Club as well as transform the former Duke of Westminster school site in Kesh.
The proposed Ederney site is to include; a community garden and allotments, an outdoor classroom/ampitheatre events space, 13 piece adventure play equipment, a proposed ball wall, extension to the existing community walk, proposed community building and a new floodlit training pitch, beside the existing Ederney GAA pitch.
Fermanagh District Council took over the Kesh site back in April 2014, having previously served as the home of the Duke of Westminster High School and Devenish College.
The site extends to 11.86 acres and all buildings on the site were demolished with the exception of one building to be retained for re-use. The remaining lands will be used for recreational use.
The plan for the site is threefold. The part of the site which is closest to Kesh will be developed into a Recycle and Re-use Centre, the middle section of the site will accommodate business development and enterprise units, while the section of the site to the east (closest to Ederney) is planned for recreational use and it is this part of the site which has been identified as part of the North Fermanagh Valley Project.
On the Kesh site as part of this project it is proposed that a tennis court be built, along with a new floodlit sand-based football pitch, running track and walks, mountain bike pump track, a community green, changing facilities and public toilets.
A consultation process was held within the two communities at the end of last year, with an application then sent through to the Space and Place Programme, funded by the Big Lottery. The idea behind the fund is to bring communities in Northern Ireland together by making better use of local spaces and places. The project has made it through the initial phases and has already been through two economic assessments.
Neville Armstrong, who sits on the steering group for the North Fermanagh Valley Park and is the treasurer of the Kesh Development Association explained that the project has received ‘fantastic support’ both locally, from Fermanagh District Council and in the neighbouring communities of Aghyaran, Pettigo and Castlederg.
“Work between the two communities continues and we’re very hopeful we will see a positive outcome before the summer for the £1m to do this project.”
Local DUP councillor David Mahon expressed his delight at the progress made on the project. “When the facility is up and running it will be a state of the art one and one we can be very proud of as a community.”
“This project is exactly one of the reasons I decided to run for council. I am very aware of the needs of local communities and what better reason would there be to be a councillor than to represent the needs of local communities.”
He added: “This creation will secure a space and a place for the local people to meet, exercise, relax and have great family fun. I have no doubt that these sites will be a great foundation for the future and that many found and fun memories will be captured at these sites.”
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