Two parks built to bring communities together following the ceasefire in Northern Ireland has helped a local authority to win an international award.
Dungannon & South Tyrone Council took gold in the under-20,000 population category in the LivCom Awards for best parks, beating entries from Australia, Canada and Europe. The event took place in La Coruña, Spain, last week.
The council is planning to develop a 4ha park at Castlehill, around O’Neil Castle, after the Government decommissioned the army base there this summer. It will spend £900,000 from grants on the first phase of a four-year programme, beginning next February.
And 6ha Railway Park, which was once a “no man’s land” between Dungannon’s Catholic and Protestant communities, won judges’ praise as a place of unification since it was developed in 1999.
The former railway depot was a symbol of the divided community since the troubles began in 1969, said Bertie McMinn, technical services head. He added that Castlehill, in the centre of the industrial former linen centre, would transform “what used to be a heavily fortified area and an eyesore into something good for the community”.
LivCom chief executive Alan Smith said Dungannon had succeeded by using the extra impetus of bringing different sections of the community together.
Dungannon was the only one of 33 entries in category A, with 200 altogether in the awards, which were launched in 1997.
- Category A winner Dungannon. Silver: Aylsham and Clonakilty.
- Category C runner-up and gold award Gateshead.
- Category D winner and gold award Coventry. Third and silver award: Stockport.
- Next year’s awards take place in Hangzhou, China, 9-13 November. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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