Last Wednesday marked an important day for Ballymoney with the official opening of the new £1.3 million walking and cycling Railway Bridge in the town and the unveiling of a new portrait bench.
The striking new railway bridge, created using funding of £450,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and based at Ballymoney train station, has an eye catching arch design and is the final link in the town’s innovative new Greenway Network which allows local people to get around the town traffic free.
Developed by UK environment charity Sustrans, Ballymoney Borough Council, the Department for Regional Development and Translink, the bridge and greenway will improve the health and fitness of the local community by encouraging people to walk and cycle in the open air.
The sense of community at the launch event was overwhelming, as 120 people of all ages filled the confines of Ballymoney station.
Speeches from the Chairman of Translink, the Mayor of Ballymoney, Sustrans Director and our own Director Joanne McDowell were followed by a speech from the DRD Minister and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
The ribbon was cut and it was bikes at the ready as the community flooded over the bridge to unveil the portrait bench; depicting characters important to the history of the town and voted by the community itself.
The day was filled with smiles, not only because the sun had turned out, but from the happiness watching children from the nearby schools putting their newly learnt cycling skills to good use.
DRD Minister Danny Kennedy had some fun himself coming down the hill on his bike, adding to the positive atmosphere of the day.
It was nice to see the community engaging with the project and witness the difference this will have to the people of Ballymoney; providing a safe and healthy route through the town.
On a personal note, thank you for the lovely welcome and as discussed with Mayor Evelyne Robinson, I will definitely be back for a visit.