Donegal County Council as Lead Partner and Derry City & Strabane District Council as Project Partner prioritised the submission of a funding application for consideration under the PEACEPLUS Programme for the delivery of the Riverine Community Park Project.
The application was made under Investment Area 1.4 Re-Imaging Communities which is a programme of transformative reimagining projects, that will create a more cohesive society through an increased provision of shared space and services to embed peace and prosperity.
It will result in an increase in the number of individuals and groups regularly accessing new shared spaces, which have been co-designed on a cross-community basis; and spending recreational time or accessing services therein.
The total budget available under Investment Area 1.4 Re-Imaging Communities is €75m. It is envisaged this investment area will fund 10 transformative projects and a maximum award to any one project up to €15m.
Fully committed to the delivery of a new shared space linking the communities of Lifford and Strabane, Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council collaborated over the past number of months to prepare and finalise the funding application for the significant cross border and cross community project.
While many of the overall deliverables under the PEACEPLUS application remain consistent with the previously funded Peace IV project, there was considerable work involved in completing the application under the new programme.
Through on-going engagement with many community groups and wider stakeholders, both Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council acknowledge the continued support and commitment to the Riverine Community Park during the PEACEPLUS application process, ensuring that Riverine is co-designed in continued partnership with the community.
Welcoming the news of the application submission, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Councillor Martin Harley commended the work of all involved for this much needed community facility for the people of Lifford and Strabane and the wider area.
He said “I would like to thank the communities and stakeholders who reaffirmed their commitment, as evidenced in the many letters of support for the funding application to the PEACEPLUS programme”.
He added “this partnership between Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council provides a unique cross border relationship that is innovative and progressive in addressing the cross border challenges and opportunities through Riverine”.
Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Patricia Logue, welcomed news of the submission, stressing the project would be transformative for the Strabane-Lifford area.
She said “Considerable work has already gone into this vital project, which will see the delivery of a facility of major significance for the North West,” she said. “Despite the challenges our two councils remain committed to delivering on our joint aspiration to create an iconic, progressive and sustainable shared space, for the people of Strabane, Lifford and beyond. I am confident that the wide ranging benefits make this a strong proposition and hopeful that this submission to the PEACEPLUS Programme will enable the delivery of this project which will drive intercultural and cross border cooperation and strengthen cross-community relations across this area.”
The Riverine project proposes a new cross border public park of regional significance with provision for an outdoor public events space, community building and play experience, environmental features, shared walkways, river access and parking.
The park on the Lifford side will be a designed landscape incorporating indoor and outdoor recreational features. This will be complemented on the Strabane side with recreation and environmental education and conservation activities.
Spanning both sides of the River Foyle the shared space will be uniquely connected through the creation of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge, as a symbolic link in connecting the communities of Strabane, Lifford and their wider hinterlands and representing a prominent physical symbol of a changing society.
The project also includes innovative activity programmes as an opportunity for sustained engagement in activities of common interest. This new community asset along with the activity programmes which will be delivered through it, will facilitate cross community and cross border connections and encourage greater interaction, positively impacting on peace and prosperity.
The application for the Riverine Community Park Project was submitted to the PEACEPLUS Programme by the closing date on 7 September 2023.
The overall cost of the Project now stands at €14.9m, reflecting the increased construction, inflation and other costs.
It is understood that following the assessment of all applications received under Investment Area 1.4, the SEUPB will communicate the outcome to applicants in Q1 2024.