People’s Park is in the running for top award

The People's Park
The People's Park
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The People’s Park in Portadown has been shortlisted for an award by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The RICS Northern Ireland named the SPACE Project as one of the buildings and structures in the running for this year’s awards.

The Shared Process and Community Engagement project (SPACE) is included in the Community Benefit and Regeneration categories of the awards, which will take place in May.

The park, which borders the route of the contentious Drumcree parade, had suffered from decades of conflict and lack of investment, resulting in its decline.

With money from Europe and local backing, a new and shared vision for the space was born for all sides of the community.

The park’s objectives include its refurbishment and a community engagement and peace building programme.

The end result has been delivered and its highlights include the construction of an amphitheatre, play areas, a pavilion, synthetic pitches, tranquil gardens, existing pitch upgrades, improvements to pedestrian connectivity, lake restoration, promotion of environmental activities for schools and improving access from the town centre.

The park reopened to the public in October 2015 to widespread acclaim and the focus is very firmly on the shared future ahead, and not the past.

Also shortlisted in the Building Conservation category is the restoration of Acton House, Poyntzpass

RICS NI Awards judging chairman Alistair Dunn said, “The variety of projects that make up this year’s shortlist demonstrates how important the built environment is to Northern Ireland.

“Each project is a worthy winner and I look forward to recognising them all, and indeed the Project of the Year, at the gala ceremony in May.”

The NI Awards 2016 will take place on May 6 at La Mon Hotel & Country Club, hosted by property developer and TV presenter Gary McCausland. Local winners will also be considered for the overall awards that will be announced at a gala event in London in October.