Sod-turning marks start of park work

A sod turning ceremony was held on December 4 to mark the start of construction on the �3.9m Valley Park redevelopment project, which will transform 2.2 acres of under-used space into a state-of-the-art 3G sports pitch, a picturesque linear park and an adventure play area, for use by all sections of the community. INNT 50-504CON Pic by Brian Thompson

A sod turning ceremony was held on December 4 to mark the start of construction on the �3.9m Valley Park redevelopment project, which will transform 2.2 acres of under-used space into a state-of-the-art 3G sports pitch, a picturesque linear park and an adventure play area, for use by all sections of the community. INNT 50-504CON Pic by Brian Thompson

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There is renewed excitement around the £3.9million Valley Park shared space project amid the realisation it will be completed in seven months.

Speaking days after the sod cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction on the project, Alliance Councillor Billy Webb told the Times that the mood at the event was positive as excitement built around the fact that the new facilities would be finished by the summer.

He commented: “There was an excellent attendance. DSD Minister Mervyn Storey was there, as well as the representative from the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), the Mayor, councillors and contractors. This shows the strength of the backing for the project.

“There was a positive atmosphere and everyone was looking at what was going to be done. There was excitement it had started and a realization that is was going to be completed in July.”

The Voices from the Valley project will transform the existing park’s 2.2 acres of under-used space into a civic linear park and an adventure play park. New state-of-the-art sports facilities, including a floodlit 3G pitch suitable for football, rugby and Gaelic games will also be constructed.

Cllr Webb continued: “That amount of money coming into the area will be great for the community. It will be a safe environment where people can come into the centre and I believe it will attract people from the communities around the centre with its walk ways, performance area and new play park.”

Speaking at the sod cutting ceremony, Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey stated: “The ‘Voices from the Valley Park’ project will truly transform this greenfield site into a shared space that will provide a platform for interaction through sport, play and leisure opportunities. 

“It will create a sense of ownership for all communities, a place that everyone values and benefits from; a place that is about the future and forging new and productive relationships.”

Mayor of Newtownabbey Alderman Thomas Hogg added: “There has been fantastic community interest in this scheme to date and we look forward with great excitement to the opening next year.”