A public meeting in Dromahair’s Blue Devon was told on Friday evening last that ambitious plans for the redevelopment of the Park in the village will not come to fruition without the full support of the community.
Addressing the meeting Dr Gerry Ballantine, Chairman of DARC (Dromahair Arts & Recreation Centre) gave a background on the project which was established in April 2010 as an amalgamation of 32 various clubs and sporting societies in the area. Planning permission was sought and was subsequently approved for a multi-use, floodlit sports surface, a playground, outdoor gym equipment and a recreational walkway around the various amenities.
While it was said that they would hope for as many people as possible to donate a week’s wages, Gerry stressed that, “There are 1,200 houses in the parish and it would be ideal to get as much money as we can up front. This is a donation and people will give what they can give and we will accept everything.”
Gerry added, “I personally think that if the community don’t get involved it won’t materialise. It has been developed to provide facilities from the cradle to the grave and for generations to come afterwards.
Gerry added, “A community can grow and develop together if we have something like this as a fulcrum. Ask yourself is something like this worth a week’s wages?”
DARC Treasurer Jim Meehan added, “There are a lot of hard working people on the DARC committee but if this drags on we’ll get tired of it too. The Park is owned by the people of Dromahair and it is the people who will benefit.”
The issue of fundraising was raised from the floor but the difficulties that would present were highlighted by Gerry who stated, “DARC is representative of 32 different clubs and if we start doing a lot of fundraising we’re cutting across their methods of fundraising. We have to realise other people will be needing funds and those clubs and associations are hugely important to this community as well.”
To date in excess of €50,000 has been raised following a very successful scrap metal collection for the project that will cost an estimated €700,000 to complete. It is hoped that funding from various bodies such as the Sports Capital Programme and Leader could yield up to €450,000 which would leave a shortfall of an estimated €200,000.
Cllr John McTernan and Senator Michael Comiskey both pledged their support to the project.