The official opening of Agnew Park took place on Wednesday and there was lots to chute about! The park was given an extreme makeover and the new and improved facilities were officially opened at an event on Wednesday 13 July. Chair of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee, Colin Smyth officially opened the park.

The Council has spent £866,000 on the upgrade to Agnew Park. Funding was secured through the Council’s Capital Programme and the Coastal Communities Fund.

The Council made a commitment to improving the facilities at Agnew Park as part of the wider regeneration of Stranraer. The new park was part of the wider Public Realm and infrastructure improvements which aimed to create a new vibrant visitor attraction and sea front asset linking Agnew Park to Stranraer marina , Stranraer waterfront and Stranraer town centre supporting the overall vision to reposition Stranraer as a distinctive and successful marine Leisure destination.

There was a large, public consultation on the improvements carried out in the summer of 2013 which asked the local community what they wanted to see in the park and what improvements should be made.

The works took a year to complete and included:

• Extend the current community facility building to provide a restaurant/café and offer the opportunity for a new business venture that has the opportunity to grow and create new jobs,
• Refurbish and remodel the existing building to provide an enhanced youth and community friendly space to allow partners the opportunity to offer services that support entrepreneurial, employability and creative skills
• Redesign the public toilet area
• Complete extensive public realm works to include, removal of hedges, new electricity points and water in the events area, upgrades to the go cart track and kids small car area, instillation of basketball net, new play equipment in the play park, refurbished benches , new lighting columns and lights, new signs, new park barriers and cctv around the new and refurbished buildings
• Introduce new footpath entrances into the park.
• Resurfacing of the car park

Speaking on the opening of the new park, Chair of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee, Colin Smyth said;

“I’m delighted to open the new Agnew Park. The new park now boasts some fantastic play equipment, green spaces for people to enjoy and links beautifully to the marina. The substantial investment that we have made in improving the facilities has created a park that I know will be well used by local individuals, groups and people visiting the area. We built this park based on what local people told us they wanted, so I’m confident that it will be enjoyed by the people of Stranraer.

Last year, the Council secured more than £3 million for improvements in Stranraer. I am pleased that one of the regeneration projects that we committed to has now been delivered.

Building the local economy is the number one priority for this council and by investing in Stranraer to make it attractive, we hope we can boost the number of people who visit the town, which is good for local shops. Also, new Driftwood café/restaurant has been leased to a newly established partnership and has created two new full time jobs and six part time jobs, helping to boost the local economy. After tasting their delicious cake, I know that tourists will be popping in for some tasty treats when they visit the park.

I strongly believe that the regeneration of Stranraer is about more than just the Waterfront. That is why we need to maximise the positive impact of physical change. Agnew Park is a testament to this. We have delivered a park that local people will love to use time and time again and created an asset that the local community can be proud of.”