Plans for an ambitious £15.5 million re-development of Lurgan Park were set in motion by Council this week.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council agreed to submit an application for a whopping £13 million towards the huge makeover of Lurgan Park, which will incorporate the Waves Complex.
The 259-acre Co Armagh park is Northern Ireland’s largest urban greenway and the second biggest in Ireland – behind only Phoenix Park in Dublin.
Council officials recognised an opportunity to bid for a portion of £34.5 million on offer through the new PEACE IV Shared Space and Services Programme – which ultimately aims to create five iconic projects across Northern Ireland.
Council officials are hoping Lurgan Park could be one of those five, and in doing so, developing an amenity that will have both local and regional significance.
The multi-million pound plans would include a new park-based arts and wellbeing life centre; gateway features at the primary town centre entrance points, including Robert Street, Avenue Road, Castle Lane and the re-opening of the Antrim Road access.
In a report put before councillors on the Leisure Committee, officials said they hoped the project would “increase civic participation and pride for Lurgan residents to work together to the benefit of the whole community” as well as promoting “a positive image of the town”
They want Lurgan Park to be “perceived as an accessible venue which attracts visitors from outside the borough via a programme of events, and where residents regularly enjoy shared interests and social space”.
Should the application prove successful Council will commit £2.6 million of the overall £15.5 million estimated cost.
On top of this Council, as part of the rates and budget setting process, may need to allow for up to £200,000 a year additional revenue costs to manage the new range of facilities from 2023.
The hope is to have the Park completed by Christmas 2022.
Sinn Fein councillor Liam Mackle has welcomed the application it has “massive potential for the town”.
“If this application is successful it will be a triumph for the people of Lurgan and the wider Borough.
“The new facility planned for the Waves complex, which will soon close, will offer new exciting arts and community opportunities including an auditorium, suite, cafe and exhibition place.
“Externally it will result in improved car parking, shared spaces, an outdoor events area and enhanced outdoor lighting.
“The partnership with Phoenix Park and exchange visits between Lurgan and Dublin schools to share experiences and learning are all positive developments.
“Council officers deserve great credit for pulling this application together in such a short timeframe. I am hopeful that their efforts will pay off.”