Newry SDLP Councillor Michael Savage has said he believes the 15 acre Park at the Albert Basin is finally on its way following the approval of the Outline Business Case (OBC) to unlock over £16 million for Phase One of the project.
Councillor Savage seconded the proposal at a recent SP&R Committee to submit the Phase One OBC and concept design to the Department for Communities ((DFC) to secure the £16.2 million from the City Deal Complementary Fund.
He said: “Alongside Cllr Gary Stokes and my SDLP colleagues we have been pushing to progress the 15 Acre Park at every stage through Council.
“It has not been easy but this approval is a vital step in developing a fantastic green space for the citizens of our city, district and beyond to enjoy. The People’s Park is finally on its way.
“Some time ago I sought and got agreement that we would deliver Phase One of this project in this Council term and was specific about what the first phase would look like namely the greening and capping of the site, the installation of walkways linking the Park to the Greenway and the installation of a regional Play Park.
“The concept and OBC proposals that have been approved and sent to DFC go well beyond that so I’m really excited that we are finally moving to delivery stage and the project is up and running.
“While it is recognised that the completion of Phase One would roll well beyond this Council term the £16.2 million when secured from DFC allows us to carry out the first phase while at the same time working with the stakeholder group, design team and planners through the Newry City Centre Regeneration Project Board to secure capital and community engagement to add further features to the Park in parallel or at different stages.
“I envisage that the Park will evolve in the coming years well beyond the initial Phase One concept and indeed I believe it will be an ever-evolving feature of life in our city for future generations.
“The challenge for all of us going forward is to continue to work together with a positive mindset so that we deliver as many elements to the Park in as quick a timeframe as possible.
“This is a pivotal moment in the delivery of the 15-acre Park at the Albert Basin and a proud moment for everyone behind the project.”