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Seven teams from six local primary schools presented their vision for a world-class city park to the Council's Park Working Group at the Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre at the weekend. Team Hazel from St Ronan’s Primary School got the award for the best presentation on the day.

The event organised by Newry 2020 had entrants from Bunscoil an Iuir, St Ronan's PS, St Clares Abbey PS, Ballyholland PS, St Joseph's PS and St Patrick's PS.

The Hazel team from St Ronan's Primary School, Newry gave the best presentation at the Newry 2020 hosted Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre on Saturday. Included are front: Tom Magill, left and Oran McKeever. Back: Charlie Magill, left, and Rio Loughran. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The Hazel team from St Ronan's Primary School, Newry gave the best presentation at the Newry 2020 hosted Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre on Saturday. Included are front: Tom Magill, left and Oran McKeever. Back: Charlie Magill, left, and Rio Loughran. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

As well as the working group the panel also included the winners of the 2016 competition, the ‘Three Amigos’, who returned to give their opinions on the latest proposals.

The entrants in the Newry 2020 Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge with Cllr Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council; Cllr Gavin Malone, Cllr Gary Stokes, Cllr Valerie Harte and Cllr Liz Kimmins with son Dáithí  along with Colette Ruddy, Oliver McGauley and Brian Cleland, Newry 2020.
The entrants in the Newry 2020 Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge with Cllr Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council; Cllr Gavin Malone, Cllr Gary Stokes, Cllr Valerie Harte and Cllr Liz Kimmins with son Dáithí along with Colette Ruddy, Oliver McGauley and Brian Cleland, Newry 2020.

All of the judges were blown away by the huge effort, creativity and attention to detail of the designs presented by the children. Many teams included features to ensure the facilities were accessible, and the St Patrick’s team even included a beautiful sensory garden.

Commenting after the event Councillor Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council said that the delivery of a City Park for Newry continues to be a key issue for Sinn Féin and he praised the efforts of all the young people  who presented their Minecraft designs.

“The delivery of a City Park for Newry continues to be one of the key issues for Sinn Fein. Our elected representatives are committed to providing an effective level of leisure and recreation opportunities throughout this Council area and ensuring that those facilities are accessible to the public.

The creation of a fully resourced Newry City Park is viewed by Sinn Féin as a key element in the important  area of urban regeneration. A fully resourced, easily assessable natural Park area would facilitate and encourage healthy lifestyles and emotional well being of all in particular the most vulnerable within our communities. It would also contribute to the social and economic well being of the District”.

Cllr Casey added “Myself and my Party colleague’s believe that there continues to be cross Party support for the delivery of a City Park in Newry and we are sure that working together with elected representatives, Council Officers, all stakeholders and potential funding agencies, the vision for a City Park will be realised.

This is what these young people and many of the people and communities we represent expect to be delivered”

Ballyholland PS Team, Louis Lynch, Alex McKee and Charlie Lynch taking part in the Newry 2020 Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge.
Ballyholland PS Team, Louis Lynch, Alex McKee and Charlie Lynch taking part in the Newry 2020 Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge.

The Working Group decided that the team with the best presentation on the day was Team Hazel from St Ronan’s Primary School. Rio, Oran, Tom and Charlie demonstrated their design with a coherent journey through their vision, from the entrance, to their wildflower garden, basketball court and horse paddock - drawing the all important question from the audience "do you bring your own horse or can your hire one?"

Members of the councils working group at the Newry 2020 Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Front from left are: Cllr Gavin Malone,, Cllr Valerie Harte, Cllr Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council; Cllr Liz Kimmins with son Dáithí  and Colette Ruddy, Newry 2020. Back from left: Oliver McGauley, Newry 2020; Brian Cleland, Chairman, Newry 2020 and Cllr Gary Stokes. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Members of the councils working group at the Newry 2020 Albert Basin Park Minecraft Challenge in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Front from left are: Cllr Gavin Malone,, Cllr Valerie Harte, Cllr Charlie Casey, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down Council; Cllr Liz Kimmins with son Dáithí and Colette Ruddy, Newry 2020. Back from left: Oliver McGauley, Newry 2020; Brian Cleland, Chairman, Newry 2020 and Cllr Gary Stokes. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Project organiser Jonny McCullagh said, "This has been a fantastic experience for all of us, and would like to thank everyone who participated - particularly the schools, parents and children, as well as the local politicians who took time out their busy schedules to join us at the final, including Gavin Malone, Liz Kimmins (with 4 month old Dáithí), Valerie Harte, Gary Stokes and council chairperson Charlie Casey."

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