Park funds expected

Assistant Minister for Skill, Adam Marshall, Narrandera Shire General Manager George Cowan and Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke surveying the Marie Bashir Park.

Narrandera Shire Council’s application for grant funding to upgrade the Marie Bashir Park will be decided next week.

The grant, worth roughly $760,000, would cover the costs of a new fence around the cricket oval, a jogging track around the park; extensions to the skate park; a liberty swing and a portable stage.

“Council has launched an application under the Stronger Country Communities Fund to do a number of projects here in the main park in town,” said Narrandera Shire Council’s General Manager George Cowan.

“We hope to get the funding to replace the fence and to install a running track around the oval. Associated with that is the skate park in the corner, which we want to extend. We’ve had extensive consultations with the young people in town and they’ve got some really good plans and ideas around improving the skate park.

“Other projects include a liberty swing, which is specifically designed to cater for disabled people, particularly those in wheelchairs, so they can hop on the swing and enjoy the experience,” Mr Cowan said.

The portable stage, which was so hotly debated last year between councillors and amongst the community, would also be paid for out of the grant, if it is successful. The funding will also allocate an amount to upgrades to the change rooms at the Barellan Pool.

“I understand the announcements are going to be made next week and we’re looking forward to that. We’ll get on with the work as soon as we can,” Mr Cowan said.

Mr Cowan stressed the value of the park to Narrandera’s sense of pride and its presentation to visitors.

“It is a central park, it’s very important; it recognises one of the local famous Australians who was born and raised here and still has connections to the community, and I think it will be very important for the locals to have it back to its former glory.

“We’re right on the highway here and we get a lot of travellers through Narrandera. They stop at the Visitors Information Centre and spread into town to use the facilities and to enjoy the experience, and this park is certainly a part of that,” Mr Cowan said.

The Stronger Country Communities Fund is a $20 million fund allocated by the NSW State Government to improve  infrastructure in regional and rural communities. Funding has overwhelmingly been granted to improve shared infrastructure, such as parks, sporting grounds and bike tracks, in order to improve the lives of people living in rural and regional NSW.

So far funding has already been granted in Young, Harden, Boorowa and Cootamundra.

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