Newtownabbey Borough Council is to invest £600,000 to improve facilities at Lilian Bland Community Park in Glengormley.
The local authority has earmarked £500,000 to create new community facilities within the park, including extending and upgrading the existing pavilion to provide a multi-purpose hall and meeting rooms.
A further £100,000 is to be spent on the construction of a new, improved children’s play area at the Carnmoney Road site.
The funding was approved at a meeting of the full council on December 23, in line with an earlier recommendation made by the Policy and Governance Committee.
Welcoming the plans to improve the pavilion and the play park, Mayor Fraser Agnew said: “The initial proposals for the Glengormley schemes are very exciting and will provide a great opportunity to extend the range of activities offered and fully utilise the community space.”
Chair of Development Services, Councillor Jackie Mann added: “These two schemes will significantly improve the facilities on offer to the local community in Glengormley.”
Alderman John Blair, a key proponent of the plan to transform the park into a shared community facility, believes the funding approval creates “exciting opportunities” for the future.
“This is a great outcome and opportunity for the community in Glengormley and I am delighted these schemes, which I have been pursuing for some time, can now be realised. I have been involved in detailed talks with council officers and local community groups about these plans to provide improved, shared facilities and we can now move forward, together, to make this happen,” he said.
“Much work has been done in recent years to improve relations, particularly between young people, in Glengormley and full credit must go the community groups, council officers and the PSNI for all their efforts in achieving enthusiastically shared spaces which has resulted in vastly increased usage and activities at the Lilian Bland Park.
“The proposed provision of facilities built around the existing pavilion and a greatly improved children’s play area close by will give proper recognition to the work done so far. Continued working together, by all of those involved, creates exciting opportunities for the future in providing usable and shared facilities for everyone in the area.
“Discussions on the project have so far have been based on creating an extension to the existing pavilion within the park so that proper community provision can be made possibly including a multi-purpose hall, a meeting room or rooms, an office which community groups can share and other facilities. This presents an opportunity to fill a long term void in terms of provision in Glengormley and I am hopeful that everyone will work positively together to make this happen,” the Alliance representative added.