AFTER the completion of work to restore and upgrade facilities, Warrenpoint’s Edwardian Park was officially re-opened on Friday by Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin.
The historically important Park, which opened in 1907, is listed on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest Northern Ireland. Funding of £850,000 was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People Programme, with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council also providing significant funding towards the project.
Councillor Murnin said, “For over a hundred years, the Park has been part of the local community and I am delighted to see how beautifully it has been restored and its facilities upgraded for the local community to enjoy for future generations.
“Whether you need time alone, to meet with friends, be active or have family time, the walks around the gardens, the tennis courts and children’s play area offers something for everyone.
Councillor Murnin continued, “The project has involved members of the local community from the beginning and they will continue to be actively involved in the next phase, which will include a programme of events and activities to encourage people to visit and enjoy the Park over the coming years.
“This includes a Collective Memory Project, which hopes to capture and share the stories and memories of those who have enjoyed the Park for decades.
“I am delighted that the local community will continue to be actively involved in the life of the Park and its heritage for generations to come.”
At the re-opening event the Park’s features and upgraded facilities where showcased through a number of staged events. Guests and dignitaries were entertained by members of Warrenpoint Silver Band and St Peter’s GAA Band in the restored bandstand which is the centrepiece of the Park.
The bandstand has been carefully restored and repainted in a colour based on the original 1907 colour scheme. The moveable glass screens have been put back in place to protect musicians from the elements.
An exhibition match was staged by members of Warrenpoint Tennis Club, showcasing the new surface in the multigame area of the Park and children from Dromore Road Primary School enjoyed putting the newly installed play equipment in the children’s play area through their paces.
The Pavilion Building, dating from the 1930s, has been restored and will become an Interpretative Centre, with panels documenting the history of Warrenpoint and its Park.
The restoration work has also enhanced access to the heritage of the Park and its facilities. The original Edwardian planting landscape has been reinstated, pathways resurfaced and new street furniture installed to allow visitors to relax and enjoy the Park’s surroundings.
Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Committee Member, Sheila McClelland added, “We are delighted to celebrate the Official Opening of Warrenpoint Municipal Park. This beautifully restored Park has taken a lot of hard work and we congratulate everyone involved.
“Heritage Lottery Fund has supported the restoration and regeneration of historic parks across Northern Ireland with over £13m of National Lottery investment. If you have ever bought a National Lottery ticket then you should pop along to the regenerated Park and be proud of what you have helped to achieve. It’s also well-known that public parks play a vital role in our health and wellbeing so it is great to see that Warrenpoint Municipal Park is another special park which can continue to be used and loved by the local community and visitors for generations to come.”