The new Reaghstown Community Playground was officially opened on the grounds of Westerns GFC earlier today, as a huge turnout came out to see the play facility and new kick area opened to the delight of kids, parents and locals who have worked tirelessly to make the project happen.
The rain held off in Reaghstown on Sunday afternoon and it allowed scores of local children the chance to sample the new playground, many of which for the first time. The impressive new addition is the latest project to be completed on site at the home of the Westerns, which now more than ever is a central hub to the small local community.
“It’s fabulous to see everyone here today, especially all the youngsters,” committee member David Donnelly said before the ribbon was officially cut. “This is what it’s all about. There was huge participation to get this playground and kick area across the line. Everybody here today made their own contribution.
“Special thanks to councillor Dolores Minogue who got the ball rolling and made Anthony Durnin aware of the funding that was available,” Donnelly added. He also paid tribute to Barry Eaton, the Louth County Council official who liaised with the playground committee in regards to the application process and Westerns GFC, who’s ground houses the new facility.
“A huge thanks must be given to Westerns GFC. This is their grounds, the old tennis court. They agreed to hand this area over to us so we could put this fine facility on the grounds of Westerns GFC.”
“A huge element of this is fundraising. Fundraising is a massive challenge and it’s a very hard thing to do. I’d like to thank Paddy & Mary Sharkey from Knockabbey Soccer Club, a welcome addition to our fundraising especially for the kick area.”
Before the kids could be let loose, Father Paul Clayton-Rea of Reaghstown parish was on hand to bless the playground. “This wouldn’t have happened but for the energy and the enthusiasm of the organisers and the generosity of all of you here,” he said. “All of the alter servants have been mad for this for months!
Minogue, Durnin, Paddy and Mary Sharkey and Westerns GFC chairman Frank Scriven were on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the playground – before Westerns’ inter-county star Tommy Durnin cut the ribbon on the new kick-area.
Situated at the site the old tennis court at the entrance of the ground, the locals on the committee responsible for the playground hired specialist contractor Kompan Ireland to install the equipment which includes playhouses, swings, slides, play structures, seesaws and more – all accompanies by soft rubber tiles and floor surfaces.
Exterior fencing and gates have been provided by Peter Landy Fencing. The locals behind the project say it will allow young children to be active and develop social skills whilst also giving parents and grandparents the opportunity to meet new people.
Much of the funding has come from Louth County Council and the government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the latter of which has provided €42,500 towards the new facility.
The official opening of the playground came exactly a year to the day since the club officially opened phase one of the club house and dressing room development at their ground in Reaghstown. That development including new dressing rooms, showers and a store room – whilst on the same day the walking and running track which borders the pitch was also officially unveiled.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie at the opening, Minogue said, “It’s an absolutely brilliant turnout here today. I’m delighted to be part of the process. I worked with Anthony and the committee and it’s a testament to everyone here today that the wider community in Reaghstown contributed and put their hands deep in their pockets. As a result they have a fantastic facility on their doorstep and I wish them the best of luck with it.”