Cllr Catherine Ellatar outside the Plantin' area of Draperstown.
Construction work has begun on a £121,000 scheme to refresh two areas of green space in a County Derry village.
The Fairhill and Plantin' areas of Draperstown are set for a major overhaul as part of the scheme, with the latter having been plagued by anti social behaviour in recent years.
Sinn Féin councillor for the area, Catherine Ellatar, has said she hopes the work will be the first step in returning the Plantin' to its former glory.
“Unfortunately the Plantin has a long history of anti social behaviour,” she said.
“I would love for that to change and for people and especially our young people to see it as a communal resource that we can all spend time in, enjoy nature and be proud of.
“Vandalism destroys this area for everyone in the village and the cost of repairs has to be met by local rate payers, who are the parents and grandparents of those causing the damage.
“They should think of our local area as an extension of their homes and treat it and local residents with the respect and kindness they would expect to be treated with themselves.
“I realise the pandemic has meant that young people have not been able to get out and take part in the sporting and social activities they would usually do, over the past year.
“I would encourage them to see themselves as the important part of our local community that they are and join with us all in contributing to the great community spirit that exists in Ballinascreen.”
The Fairhill is a historic site in the centre of Draperstown, and Cllr Ellatar is hoping it can become a valuable part of the village once again.
“The Fairhill has been in a state of disrepair for some time and its great to see work starting to make it a valuable part of the village again,” she said.
“It used to be where the sheep sales took place and on a market day, it was a central part of the village. It will be lovely to see it being used again by residents and visitors.
“Council officers and our local Sinn Féin team have worked hard to secure a lease for the Fairhill and the funding to carry out the work to it and to the Plantin'.
“We live in a beautiful part of the Sperrins and over recent years we have seen a lot of visitors to the area and hopefully that will continue.
“Our local businesses are opening up again and I’m sure would welcome more visitors and potential customers.”
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