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Pride in our place

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Pride in our place thumbnailOlive Hewitt, Jean Spiers, John King and Roy Spiers celebrate with Ashley McMullan and Lauren Toal from Out There, the landscape contractors who helped create a new common area in Rooney Park.

RESIDENTS of Rooney Park in Kilkeel were celebrating last week after being recognised as one of the best kept housing areas in Northern Ireland.

The Housing Executive estate received the Best Kept Small Housing Area award at the 2016 NI Amenity Council awards and a plaque will be erected on a gable wall in the area to recognise their achievement.

As well as receiving the prestigious award, the local grounds maintenance team has landscaped an area with shrubs and trees, as well as new seating to further enhance the Rooney Park area.

Rooney Park residents took part in an official event with the Housing Executive and local councillors last Friday (10 March) to celebrate the achievement.

Jean and Roy Spiers are two long-term residents of Rooney Park.

They moved into the area on 5 December 1975 and Jean says she has plenty of stories from her four decades living in the Kilkeel estate.

She said: "There used to be old concrete pipes where the new amenity area is now and it is now a lovely sitting area where residents can sit and enjoy the outdoors with lots of nice plants and trees.

“Although we got the Best Kept Small Housing Area award a number of times before, to get it again makes us all very proud and the area is always nice and tidy."

Jean says Rooney Park has been maintained very well over the years and has done so well due to good community relations.

“There are never any arguments and for us to get this award once again is down to good communication.

“One of the Rooney Park residents, Gwen Millar does a wonderful job of looking after all the plants and maintaining them. I have always said a summer seat would be very nice and now we have two here, it is lovely to see," she added.

Resident Maura McAleenan said everyone in the area is pleased to have won the award.

“Many residents have lived in the area for a long time, so they take great pride in their surroundings. It is great to have won the 2016 NI Amenity Council Best Kept Housing Area award

“The Housing Executive has been extremely proactive in making Rooney Park a great place to live."

Long-term Rooney Park resident Brian Cunningham said the award is a credit to those who have continuously kept the area in tip-top shape.

He said: "We appreciate the Housing Executive for giving us the award. There is a lot of pride here in keeping the place looking well and it is nearly time for everyone to get the lawn mowers out and get prepared for summer."

Meanwhile, Wilma Pulford (pictured) who moved into Rooney Park in December 1975 said she is amazed by what the Housing Executive has achieved with the new outdoor amenity area.

“My grown-up kids still remember the concrete pipes for a playground that used to be here. Rooney Park has always been a lovely area to live.

“All the neighbours get together a lot. We don't have to have meetings, we have them every day when we get together and chat and there are lots of friendships here."

Newry, Mourne and Down District councillors congratulated Rooney Park residents on their award.

Sinn Fein Mournes Councillor Sean Doran said: "The estate is looking wonderful, well done to everyone. It is excellent for the residents, they don't have a community association and it is the residents all working together. They have the area looking great."

SDLP Councillor Terry Andrews said he was over the Moon to hear about the award.

He added: "All of the residents deserve a pat on the back for all of the hard work that has gone in to making it look as well as it does. Everyone in Rooney Park looks out for each other."

Owen McDonnell, South Down area manager from the Housing Executive, was delighted to see Rooney Park receive recognition for their hard work and efforts in improving the local area.

“Staff from our local ground maintenance team and district office staff worked closely with members of the community to develop the aesthetics of Rooney Park.

“The new trees, shrubs and seating makes it a very attractive location for residents.

“The residents of Rooney Park have great civic pride in their area and felt the landscaping and enhancing showed commitment to making a positive contribution to the environment.  

“Residents submitted an application which was shortlisted against strong competition and ultimately won the 2016 Best Kept Housing Small Housing Area award," he added.

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