Railway Park set for upgrade

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Railway Park set for upgrade thumbnailRailway Park, Dungannon. dd3533

MID-ULSTER District Council is set to upgrade provisions at Railway Park and Black Lough, following discussions at a meeting of the Council's development committee.
Proposals to upgrade the park had initially been considered in 2014 when the council applied for funding to purchase 6.5 acres of derelict land adjacent to the park and develop it as community greenspace.
That application was unsuccessful but the council purchased the land regardless and began formulating ideas as to how to develop the entire 20 acre site into a welcoming place for recreation and leisure.
The park has previously been beset by anti-social behaviour issues related to drink and drugs. Just 12 months ago, medical assistance was required in Railway park on no less than four consecutive weekends
The Council has consulted with interested parties, including the PSNI and local councillors. From this discussion, the Council has established the importance of linking the park to Ballysaggart Lough (Black Lough).
The business case for the development was drafted in November 2017 and three options were decided upon.
In option one the council could do nothing, this option would of course, cost nothing.
Option 2 would turn Railway Park into a quality shared and accessible green/open space increasing cross community cohesion, increasing social inclusion and the project would be delivered in one phase. This would cost an estimated 944,500.
The report also recommends that if a phased approach was to be taken, in order to secure more funding for the project, it should start with the Western section, before developing the eastern section, then finally the central area of the park.
Option 3, which Council papers describe as doing the 'bare minimum' will cost approximately 555,800.
With regards to Black Lough there are four options on the table, doing the bare minimum to develop it would cost 163,500. Option two is the most expensive at 610,500, option three will cost 239,500 while option one is do nothing which would cost nothing.
However, plans to comprehensivly develop the lough face significant restraints in relation to securing land ownership, which is likely to prevent option two or three going ahead.
In light of this, option four would seek to provide toilets and upgrade trails and visitor services.
The committee has recommended that an Integrated Consultancy Team be appointed to get the project underway.
Speaking after the meeting, DUP Councillor, Clement Cuthbertson welcomed the proposals but called on the Council to tackle the anti-social behaviour rife within the park.
”The ambitious plans for Railway Park would see a vast improvement to the park, if external funding could be achieved," he said.
“However, all these plans would be in vain if action is not taken on the current, long running, anti social behaviour.
”What is the point in significantly upgrading the park when members of the public cannot enjoy the current park, as they do not feel safe walking through it during the day? At the time, I opposed the purchasing of the extra lands due to the fact that Council cannot maintain all that they currently have.
”As a Councillor for the whole of the Dungannon Area, I am also mindful that compared to villages like Bush, Killyman, Moy, Moygashel and Tamnamore, Dungannon already has ample parks and recreation facilities while investment in the other areas has been virtually non-existent."


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