July 30, 2008
Local park enjoys new lease of life
In recent years, a small park in Leith has suffered from a lack of investment and had become sadly neglected and underused by local people. Undaunted, a small group of residents were determined that this valuable local resource should be brought back to life.
City of Edinburgh Council this quarter rubberstamped a £120,000 revamp of Dalmeny Street Park after more than 500 people flocked to a community festival organised by Friends of Dalmeny Street Park (FDSP). Visitors to Parklife’s third annual gala weekend on May 31st and June 1st at the park – a centrepiece of this year’s Leith Festival – gave an overwhelmingly positive response when canvassed about the proposed improvements.
“It was like old times at Dalmeny Park with large numbers of the community having their memories rekindled of how it used to be. The FDSP vision is now becoming clearer after the success of the festival. The potential to grow the FDSP Festival is huge and could easily become a vital annual community gathering looked forward to by many,” confirms Pilmeny Youth Centre Manager and FDSP committee member Bryan Maughan. Now city planners are sitting up and taking notice of plans to overhaul the ageing sports and play facilities.
In the wake of the successful gala weekend, a June 20th council meeting gave the greenlight to a £50,000 upgrade to sports facilities in the park. That’s on top of £70,000 already earmarked for a new children’s play area. Last year, the Parklife project won £30,000 worth of council improvements to the park.
The event featured gardening, a basketball tournament, five-a-side football competition, poets’ corner, live music, sculpture and a dog show in a bid to raise the profile of the project which aims to regenerate this previously neglected public greenspace. Membership of FDSP rocketed to over 100 after the festival. FDSP Treasurer Lise Bratton comments, “Having done the last two annual events, I’m blown away by the increased numbers participating and developing new initiatives.” And in news that underscores the project’s dynamism, FDSP scooped an £1,000 O2 It’s Your Community award to create a nursery garden.