After years of campaigning, Gorebridge’s Auld Gala Day Park re-opened to the public last Friday following recent work to make the ground safe.
Midlothian Council carried out geogridding work as it converted the 2.2 hectare acre site into a community asset, incorporating an orchard, wildflower meadow, planted areas, paths and woodland.
Now the group behind the project to recapture this green space for the growing community, Gorebridge Cares, is looking to a brighter future for the park.
Ellen Scott, spokesman, said: “I am very happy that the park is now open and this lovely green space, with its views to the Pentlands, can be enjoyed by everyone in Gorebridge.
“The park held so many happy memories for the older people of the village and I am sure they will be pleased that these memories and traditions can be carried on by future generations.
“I hope it will grow and blossom into a really special place.”
Councillor Derek Rosie (SNP), cabinet member for parks and open spaces, said: “To think that just a few months ago, this area had become vacant and derelict due to safety concerns.
‘‘It was under-used and certainly not very attractive – just look at it now.
‘‘I’m sure we will all be enjoying this space for years to come. Many thanks to everyone who has helped this project happen including Ellen Scott and Gorebridge Cares, and also Central Scotland Green Network.”
Keith Geddes, chairman of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, said: “We are very proud to have played our part in transforming this under-utilised area to create a valuable green space that will be used by many generations to come.
“This initiative is an important part of the wider Central Scotland Green Network programme, which supports environmental enhancements on the ground across the central belt of Scotland to create a high quality green network for people to live in and enjoy.”
The park, which also now includes a new entrance with ornamental gates, is the latest boost to the area, with Gorebridge now served by the Borders Railway, the new Gore Glen Primary school has just opened, and community hub Gorebridge Beacon is due to open next year.
Funding for the park project came from various council budgets and from Central Scotland Green Network.
A geogrid, which is a synthetic mesh, has been installed beneath the surface of the site to support the landscape as it sits on old mine workings. Eventually, if further funding is secured, the council plans to work with the local community on play facilities for young people.