Date: 28 Aug 2020
A new pop-up park is bringing a splash of colour to Belfast city centre.
The space at Cathedral Gardens was officially unveiled today by Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, following a £300,000 makeover to create a new landscaped area and family-friendly zone.
It’s the first multifunctional space of its kind in the city centre and features new lighting and fun equipment including a giant spinning ‘hamster’ wheel, outdoor musical instruments, a swinging bridge, and colourful mushrooms on a carpet of rainbow grass.
New seating and ‘bendy’ benches have also been installed as well as picnic tables, to encourage people to relax and linger in the colourful new surroundings.
The project was funded by Belfast City Council as part of its ongoing city centre revitalisation work, with £93,000 additional funding provided by the Department for Communities.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: “I’m so pleased to see the finished project and I hope it will be enjoyed by people and provide a welcoming place to stop with a coffee, or for families to enjoy a picnic. What’s really special about the park is that it’s been designed for kids, by kids, and I really think that’s fantastic.
“We talked to play workers and children about what we should include in the park and they provided us with a wish-list. We took that feedback onboard, and it has shaped the design of the park and the equipment we’ve installed – we even delivered on the unicorn grass.”
Alderman McCoubrey added: “After we trialled the pop-up park at Castle Place with the Department for Communities, the feedback was that people wanted to see our city streets and open spaces be a more welcoming place for children and families.
“We’ve been working with the Department for Communities and the Department for Infrastructure to look at how we can reimagine our city centre as part of our emerging ‘Bolder Vision’ for Belfast, and as restrictions have begun to ease, and we all adapt to a different way of moving around our city centre, having these safe, family-friendly open spaces will be an important part of our future resilience and recovery.”
The park has been created as a meanwhile-use for the space and is expected to be on site for at least two years.
The project is being trialled as an example of how we might reimagine our civic spaces to encourage innovative use of spaces while addressing the need for social distancing within our city centre.
If successful, Council and its city partners will consider something more permanent at Cathedral Gardens based on feedback from the project.
Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín MLA said: “The opening of this park is very welcome and timely coming as the city centre continues to reopen following the Covid19 lockdown. I have no doubt that this space and the facilities provided in it will be thoroughly enjoyed by families visiting the city centre and marks the completion of another successful venture between the Council and my Department.”