Crossmaglen’s “jewel in the crown” to gain investment at last

September 4, 2012

By Christine Keighery

News that Crossmaglen’s Community Centre is set to benefit from significant investment has been warmly welcomed across the district.

It has emerged that Newry and Mourne District Council has submitted an application to SOAR strategic grants to extend the heavily used centre, which sits in the heart of the rural community of Crossmaglen.  The plans include extending the front of the centre to provide a lift and stair case and open plan foyer area.  A multi purpose room and a number of offices and meeting rooms are also in the pipeline.

Although the work is subject to planning and funding approval, the long awaited investment is set to transform the bustling community hub and will be the realisation of tireless campaigning by local politicians and residents.

The centre suffered a serious setback in 2011 when Social Services for the disabled were removed following a damning fire assessment.  A proposal to increase rates to facilitate a new build never got off the ground and, although services were returned to the centre, arguments for investment in the building prevailed.

Crossmaglen Councillor Terry Hearty, who has fiercely lobbied for improvements to the centre, described the planned investment as a “golden opportunity” to enhance the building for its’ abundant users.

Mr Hearty said,

“We believe this is a badly needed extension to our centre. Crossmaglen Community Centre is the only council building in the town. It’s located in the Square in the centre and is almost like our town hall.

“It’s very important that as a rural town, we can facilitate groups with the best centre we can.  I’ve pushed for this from the start of my time with the council and this is a golden opportunity to draw down the funding available without placing any burden on the ratepayers.”