NSI present a vision for Newton Stewart

NSI  Douglas Park plans include a BMX track
NSI Douglas Park plans include a BMX track

Members of Newton Stewart Initiative gave a comprehensive presentation to the Cree Valley Community Council on Monday evening to define their role as part of the wider community.

Initiative chairman Susan McKie gave notice that the group were keen to move forward a variety of projects to improve the town including the new play park at Douglas Park, finding a suitable site for a new community centre and getting Galloway onto the main tourist trails.

Ms McKie also introduced the Initiative’s new coordinator Nathon Jones who would be based at the Newton Stewart Centre, formerly the Hut.

His part-time role will be to take projects forward and to build partnerships with other community organisations.

The Douglas Park project has already secured financing of £140,000 for the new football pitch and BMX track. But although this funding is in place the NSI still need to raise £20,000 to get the project “off the ground”, she said.

The organisations long term goal is to see the creation of a Newton Stewart Community Centre. Ms McKie said that the NSI had the vision of a modern state-of-the-art facility that not only met the needs of the community, giving accommodation to a wide range of groups, but was also a ‘Mecca’ for visitors to get information about the area if they came to the town. Funding of £23,000 has been secured to carry out a consultation with the community about the project.

No site has yet been identified as, in the words of NSI vice-chairman David Inglis: “We want to get this right. We have identified a number of places but there as so many other thing that come into it including traffic, access, who owns the building and how much it will cost to build. It’s going to take a lot of money but we are fortunate that we don’t have a community centre so we have a big stick to beat people with.”

The Newton Stewart Centre has become the temporary home for the flood affected Riverside Day Centre. The centre are having an open day tomorrow (February 6) between 10am - 12 noon.