Work will begin to raise funds to improve the facilities in Castletown’s Poulsom Park to encourage the park’s use by all ages.
This follows a local authority meeting at which commissioner Kevin Weir proposed a notice of motion asking for the authority – which is trustee of the park – to approve that a committee, comprising town MHK Richard Ronan, police constable Jimmy Cubbon and himself, raise funds for amenities and other improvements.
Mr Weir said: ‘We would have to go out for private money, it will not be rate-borne, if somebody wants to purchase equipment we will go to the board and ask “Can we put this in?”. It’s working in conjunction with them (the commissioners).’
Anyone sponsoring equipment will get full acknowledgement, he added.
He said the first priority is to improve access. ‘We have to have disabled access, that is the first issue. The tarmac road needs repairs and we want to extend that. We could buy exercise equipment similar to that in Ramsey.’
They also want to introduce a single-lane cycle route around the current circuit, which is also used for walk and talk sessions.
To spread awareness of the location of the park, they want to investigate creating an archway approach at Alexandra Bridge and also introduce signage at the railway station.
‘We are hoping to make the park for all ages groups from zero to 99 years,’ he said. ‘It’s a long term plan, something we will start and other people will pick up.
‘It is between a fantastic railway station and the river, it’s a fantastic location.’
New lighting is also part of the proposed upgrade and he said this will not interfere with the park’s recently-granted ‘dark sky’ status for its use in observing the sky at night; when telescopes are in use, they will simply turn the lights off.
The park was recently the venue for a mass party for youths organised through Facebook, which attracted over 100 young people and got out of control, leading to police intervention.
Could improved facilities for young people encourage more similar gatherings and subsequent anti-social behaviour?
Mr Weir said they would do the opposite and that more people using the park would act as a discouragement. ‘When there are more people and equipment in the park, it becomes self-policing.
‘These parties have been organised using social media and they (young people) are travelling around and nobody can react. If we develop this there will be more people around and it is less likely that kind of thing will be happening.’
He added: ‘I have approached young people to be on the committee to get their feedback. If it is dark (in the park), you will not get people going there for a walk but if there is lighting, they will.’
‘They are big and long-term plans, but you have to start somewhere.’