The future is looking bright for Hawick’s Wilton Lodge Park as progress is being made ahead of schedule on a £3.64m revamp intended to restore it to its former glory.
The park has long been one of the town’s crowning glories, but over the years, it had fallen into a state of disrepair and badly needed attention.
The work being carried out now should ensure it remains a much-needed place of recreation and relaxation for townsfolk for generations to come, however.
That’s certainly the view of Hawick and Denholm councillor David Paterson, and he believes the park, once its makeover is complete, will be one of the biggest visitor attractions in the south of Scotland.
Mr Paterson, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for environmental services, said: “This is a fantastic project which will result in a major improvement to Wilton Lodge Park, making it an even better place for local people and visitors to spend time and enjoy themselves.
“I am delighted that we will finish some of the works ahead of schedule, especially the play-park, which will be a fantastic facility for children in our town and will attract visitors to Hawick as it will be one of the biggest and best in the south of Scotland.”
The revamp, being funded by the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, has seen numerous infrastructure projects being taken forward.
The majority of the new infrastructure will be completed by Easter, a year ahead of the overall project completion date of April 2018.
Carlisle-based Esh Border Construction has started work on the new café and bridge, and agreement has been reached with Northamptonshire firm Wicksteed, the developer of the new play-park, that both contractors will share access and facilities to allow the play-park works to begin this month, rather than in January.
The upgraded waterfall walk and education area next to Hawick Museum have been completed, providing a purpose-built seating and demonstration space for outdoor events.
The council’s successful application to transport charity Sustrans for £100,000 to improve the surface of footways, lighting and signage, along with a further £20,000 from Transport Scotland’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places fund to promote cycling, will further enhance the area.
A centrepiece of the park is the Gilbert Davidson Fountain, and preparatory works have been completed around it, including the removal of trees and shrubs in order to restore the original setting for the feature and open up views to and from the museum.
And to enable work to progress on the town’s new 3G pitch, the Volunteer Park car park will be closed through the day on weekdays for around a month.
A safe pedestrian route will be established, and the car park will be open in the evenings and at weekends.
The council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, said: “With the café, bridge and play-park set to open next year, we aim to see yet more visitors come to Wilton Lodge Park in 2017.”
To keep up to date with events in park, visit www.facebook.com/wiltonlodgepark