Park opens its gates after £5.4m facelift

Enjoying a private viewing of the new People's Park which opens today (Friday) are Hart Memorial and Presentation Primary School pupils, back row from left, Lola Morton, John-Paul McAlinden, Ruby Diffin and Baptista and Maia Vennard. INPT41-207.
Enjoying a private viewing of the new People's Park which opens today (Friday) are Hart Memorial and Presentation Primary School pupils, back row from left, Lola Morton, John-Paul McAlinden, Ruby Diffin and Baptista and Maia Vennard. INPT41-207.

The People’s Park will open its gates today (Friday) after a £5.4 million investment.

The park, which was closed for 16 months, has been given a major revamp under the European Union’s Shared Space project.

It incorporates a play area, themed gardens, a pond, two grass soccer pitches and a grass multisports pitch catering for soccer, American football, Gaelic games and rugby.

There is also a seven-a-side 3G synthetic pitch and five-a-side multi use games area (MUGA), both of which are floodlit.

The park has also been replanted and there is a new amphitheatre as well as a 62-space car park.

The Tunnel, which is used by many as a short cut to both the park and the new train station, has had a facelift with new planting, pavements in keeping with the rest of the public realm and new lighting.

The park office, located in the Pavilion beside the new play area, will be manned by staff every day during opening hours and CCTV cameras have been installed to allow various parts of the park to be observed at the one time.

Michael Ruddy, parks development officer, who, along with other council staff, gave the Portadown Times a tour of the park last Thursday, said a loudspeaker system also allows staff to speak to people in these areas if necessary.

It was also pointed out that ‘high value’ facilities, such as the play area and synthetic pitches, have also been positioned so they are above the floodplain. This means that should severe flooding take place, as happened last year, these areas would escape it.

State-of-the-art sports changing rooms with showers have also been installed.

A number of events are planned for the coming months, one of the biggest being the Halloween Spooktacular event on Tuesday, October 27 from 5.30pm to 9.30pm.

Lord Mayor Councillor Darryn Causby said a lot of planning had gone into the project as well as “extremely successful community engagement to ensure that the people of Portadown can come together and enjoy this superb park”. He urged everyone to “take the time to check it out”.