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18/03/2015 - Carndonagh's new community town park opens this Friday

Barrack Hill Town Park

Barrack Hill Town Park to be officially opened on Friday 20 March 2015

 

An ambitious project which has transformed over four acres of land in the heart of Carndonagh to now serve as a hub for community activity, recreation and leisure activities opens this Friday.

 

At the heart of the development was the decision by Donegal County Council back in 2008 to zone four of the 28 acres it owned there for the development of a town park and the local community’s participation in the project.

 

Aideen Doherty from Donegal County Council, who has been involved with the development of the of the Barrack Hill Town Park from the beginning of the process said “the challenge was to find a way to engage the whole community in a unique way by capturing their imagination and ensuring they felt that they had ownership of the process from the start.  During the consultation process invitations were extended to all schools locally to participate.A decision was taken to engage an individual instantly recognizable to the community to assist with the consultation and design of the project”.

 

She added “Diarmuid Gavin Designs (DG Designs) was approached and agreed to participate in this unique process.  To keep the consultation phase manageable Donegal County Council in association with the Carndonagh Playground Development Committee and DG Designs determined that the most effective way to engage the community would be to undertake a consultative process engaging the immediate community of Carndonagh as a representative body of people from the Inishowen peninsula”.

 

According to Diarmuid it was important to develop something unique.

“It’s important to create a landmark; something identifiable that puts the town on the map. And I feel it’s important that that place emerges from the character of the area.  For a long time I wondered what that was, what is the soul of the place, what idea wouldn’t be about the vanity or ego of the designer, rather than be of the community,” he said.

 

Kids at Barrack Hill 3.79 x 269

Some of the young artists involved in designing and developing Barrack Hill Town Park in Carndonagh

 

In September 2008 DG Designs met with the client groups and unveiled the final plans for the park. In total 667 persons from throughout the region participated in the consultation process and included all members of the community.

 

An application was made to LEADER led by Carndonagh Playground Committee in association with Donegal County Council and the group was awarded €500,000 from LEADER, 75% of the cost to complete the project. Donegal County Council and the playground committee made up the difference to see the development of the first phase of the project. In addition the council funded the Training Room and car park as both were ineligible for funding from LEADER.

 

Barrack Hill Heads 379 x 269  

Barrack Hill Heads, iconic features at Barrack Hill Town Park

 

 

Phase 1  included the development of a play area for the under 12s, a cycle cross track, a network of walkways, an elderly fitness zone, a lounging area, public art sculptures, and a car park.

 

Phase 2

The North West Healthy Living, Community Garden and Allotments Project was developed by Donegal, Strabane, Limavady and Magherafelt councils with key health and social care agencies in the north-west region (NI and ROI).  The project was developed under the auspices of the North West Region Crossborder Group and provides a targeted response to local health, social and economic needs through the development of allotments and community gardens.

 

As part of this project Donegal County Council secured funding under INTERREG IVA to fit out the training room, develop the allotments and poly-tunnels and complete the outdoor pursuit area. In addition a range of training programmes have been delivered and a gardener has been contracted to work alongside the local community to establish the garden area.

 

The park is a massive addition to the town and the wider Inishowen area. It is a fantastic resource for the area and caters for all age groups. The park has something of interest to engage all those who participated in the consultation process from early years to the active retired.

 

These activities will focus on promoting a pride of place and ownership among the community in participating and caring for the park. It will also be an iconic space utilised by the entire community, a welcoming environment where families can come and enjoy a day out.  

 

The new park will be officially opened this Friday, March 20 by local girl Sarah Brophy who has been a supporter of the project since its inception. The opening takes place at 10am. Everyone welcome.

 

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