Kilfennan Valley Park is to undergo a £900,000 revamp thanks to a u-turn by the Social Investment Fund, the Sentinel has learned.
Granted ‘Priority 2’ status by the Investment Fund, it appeared that, yet again, Kilfennan Valley Park had dropped off a funding allocation list, but, following protest, it appears that there has been a re-think, and the park has been granted the ‘Priority 1’ status it desperately needs to attract funding for a major facelift.
Disappointment has now turned to joy for the residents of Caw Nelson Drive, who have been campaigning for over 25 years for work to take place on the park.
According to DUP councillor, Drew Thompson, who has been campaigning for action to improve the amenity for decades, planning permission was granted two years ago to create a MUGA pitch and toddlers’ play park, as well as generally upgrade the area.
“The money that was put forward for the Social Investment Fund programme was £9.95 million. The funding decision meant that the top three projects put forward for allocations under the programme would enjoy funding. Kilfennan Valley Park was one of four project that was in for that funding.
“We believed that there was a discrepancy in the formula and we protested and asked for the statistics to be looked at again, because it had come back to us that Kilfennan Valley Park had been left out of the allocation. It has become a Priority 2 instead of a Priority 1 status and slipped out of the funding group, so we questioned it because we felt the wrong statistics were used,” he said.
Asked what Priority 1 status meant for the park, Mr Thompson said: “The park will get about £900,000, and we will have a play park and MUGA. Its grat news. It has been in need of upgrading for years.”
Co-ordinator at Caw Nelson Drive Action Group, Linda Watson, said the park had been in need of upgrading for 25 years or more.
“Last year we staged a protest about the state of the play park here. Really the area between Maggie Murphy’s Lane along Sperrin Park and up to Kinsale Park at Caw is in need of up-grading.
“Funding like this will allow us to put in a floodlit MUGA pitch, upgrade the football pitch and have a dedicated play park for toddlers and juniors with interactive play equipment. We are over the moon about this decision. There are four play parks that will be up-graded and we are one of them. It is fantastic,” she said, adding: “We are now waiting for the letter of offer from Derry City Council. That will then go out to tender and we are hoping that work will start later this year. This work is badly needed; it is going to be such a big thing for this area. It is going to be fantastic.”