Bowling alley amongst the new facilities for Dromore

Dromore Community Centre.
Dromore Community Centre.

A mini-bowling alley is amongst the new facilities coming to Dromore with the council striking up a deal to invest £2.4m in re-developing the community centre.

It is anticipated that this capital project, which is due to get underway next year, will create a more modern, fit for purpose and spacious fitness facility and better utilised space for the local community.

Planned improvements to the building include a two-storey extension to accommodate a new fitness suite fitted out with state of the art exercise equipment on the upper floor, with new brick football changing facilities with capacity for four team rooms provided on the ground floor.

The existing squash courts will be converted into a dual-purpose mini bowling alley and children’s party and community room.

To accommodate an increased number of visitors, there will be additional car parking spaces provided at the existing locations of the tennis courts and prefabricated football changing facilities. The existing gym will be used as an additional multi-purpose exercise studio, and works will also be carried out to bring the building, which was built in 1993, up to modern energy efficiency and sustainability standards.

Lagan River representatives have welcomed the decision by council to invest the money for the major redevelopment of the centre.

Speaking about this significant investment, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Gareth Wilson said: “It’s great to see this capital project, which has been in the pipeline for some time, get the green light. We place a high value on improving leisure provision in the borough, offering affordable, customer and community-focused services to get more people active, with the aim of improving the health and well-being of the local community.

“In addition to this project, we are also committing significant funding to enhancing play provision at Dromore Town Park. We as a council are fully supportive of projects that have the greatest positive influence on people’s lives, and I look forward to seeing both these projects get off the ground.”

Visitor numbers to Dromore Community Centre have increased by approximately 50% in recent years thanks to the commitment of staff at the facility who have worked hard to put on a programme of activities that appeals to a wide range of customers.

In a joint statement, Dromore DUP Councillors Hazel Gamble, Alderman Paul Rankin and their colleague Councillor Mark Baxter have welcomed the good news story for Dromore.

They said: “At one point back in 2012, Dromore Community Centre was facing a reduction in its opening hours, but thanks to the centre management and staff, they turned things around and the usage and income generated increased substantially.

“Both Councillor Gamble and Alderman Rankin helped spearhead the campaign for major investment in the Community Centre, when they both sat on the former Banbridge District Council, with a business case, public consultation and options paper drawn up since 2014.

“The local DUP councillors have continued to lobby for these improvements to get the go ahead on the new ABC Council. It has taken several years, but we are delighted that the Leisure Committee and the full Council have now given their approval, with the recommendation for the 2.385 Million pound investment going through full Council on Monday, June 26. “We would thank our fellow councillors who supported the proposals on Committee and at full Council. Along with the plans for a new Play Park, for Dromore Town Park, this is another welcome investment for Dromore.”