Newry’s dream of creating a city park looks set to become a reality with Stormont looking set to contribute over £16 million for an incredible new development.
The Albert Basin Park will stretch across a 15-acre site.
Discussions have been ongoing for close to a decade involving many stakeholders and campaigners.
One such body, Newry 2020, which has lobbied for a world-class facility befitting the city, declared today’s boost as “phenomenal news”.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will also contribute funding to the project with allocations to be included in new year’s rates estimates.
It is as a result of the City Deal that money is being recommended to the Newry project.
Finance Minister Conor Murphy confirmed it had been included among the first set of projects to be funded under the Executive’s City/Growth Deals Complementary Fund, which has also been agreed as part of the draft Budget outlined today (Friday).
The lion’s share of the pot – £16.2 million – has been earmarked for the Albert Basin Park.
Said Minister Murphy: “I’m delighted to announce that £52 million is being allocated to projects under the Executive’s Complementary Fund.
“These projects will provide a capital injection right across the North. This will see investment in local communities, support for businesses and development of our local environment to provide much needed green space for citizens.”
The news has been welcomed by the Newry 2020 group.
It said: “This is phenomenal news, and an incredible achievement by the entire community who have fought long and hard to get the project to this stage.
“We’d like to thank the Finance Minister Conor Murphy and his party colleagues for their support in getting this funding, as well as all the other political representatives who have supported us along the way.
“This is not the end of our struggle for a world-class park, but it is unquestionably a great day for our city. People power will win in the end.”
Meanwhile, the other beneficiaries of the Complementary Fund are:
- A hydrogen innovation centre, Ballymena – £15 million
- Establishment of an Industrial Development Challenge Fund to help close the productivity gap by providing support to businesses for product improving technology and innovation Mid-South West Region – £7.5 million
- Development of a multi-use recreational and environmental facility at Whitespots Country Park, Bangor – £7.4 million
- Establishment of a Digital Transformation Fund to support small businesses to help address the cost barriers of digitisation – £6 million.
A 12 week consultation period on the proposals set out in the draft Budget will start on Monday, December 13, giving the public the opportunity to have their say.