A new £670,000 full size 3G pitch at Kilcluney, Markethill has been officially opened by First Minister Arlene Foster today.
The £670,000 project, which was part financed by the Department for Social Development through the Regional Shared Sports Facility pilot programme, involved the extension of an existing training pitch to provide a full size floodlit facility.
The new facility will be used by local sports clubs and other organisations within the area.
First Minster Arlene Foster said: “This new modern 3G pitch is a great boost for the Kilcluney and wider Markethill area and I look forward to seeing it put to good use by the community.
“This is another example of investment in community infrastructure from the Northern Ireland Executive which will benefit young people in particular. I am delighted that the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister has been able to provide over £700,000 funding through its Social Investment Fund which will further enhance facilities with the development of the proposed community hub.
“These new facilities will provide a safe and secure sports facility and will build on existing good relations through participation in sport.”
Minister Morrow said: “This project is another excellent example of local volunteers working hard for the benefit of their community. Since being provided with a small five aside pitch in 2012 the Kilcluney Management & Development Committee has worked hard to make the facility sustainable. It is to their credit that after such a short period of time they have not only been able to generate sufficient local demand to warrant the extension of the pitch to full size standard, but also have been able to contribute £105,000 towards the project.”
The Minister added: “It has long been acknowledged that sport breaks down barriers and unites people in a common interest. The provision of amenities such as this 3G pitch provides opportunities for people to come together and participate in sport and avail of healthy activities in safe, fit for purpose modern facilities.”
DSD provided funding of £465,000, the former Armagh, City and District Council provided £100,000 and Kilcluney Management & Development Committee provided £105,000.
The Regional Shared Sports Facility pilot programme comprises seven projects of which the Kilcluney 3G pitch is one.
The Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Darren Causby said: “This is a top class facility which will be enjoyed by the residents of Kilcluney and beyond for many years to come. I thank the Minister, and his Department, for providing the funds to make it happen.”
The new pitch replaces a training pitch which has been managed by the Kilcluney Management & Development Committee, which is part of the Kilcluney LOL 132. The Committee will also manage the new pitch.
The Worshipful Master Bryan Hunter, on behalf of Kilcluney LOL 132 said: “We are delighted to welcome the First Minister Arlene Foster and Minister Morrow to officially open our new facility and are grateful to DSD and the Council for providing the funds to make this happen. We look forward to welcoming sporting groups from whatever background to our new extended facility now that it is available for use. We are excited that the first phase of our community development programme is now complete and look forward to more people participating in our future activities and programmes.”