A £2.5m restoration project is being planned for Helensburgh’s main public park.
Residents have been concerned for many years that Hermitage Park has suffered from poor maintenance and is underused.
But now an application for lottery funding could see historic features restored, car parking improved and closer links with the Victoria Halls.
Argyll and Bute Council officials have met Heritage Lottery Fund staff and say feedback on the project, which would cost £2.5m-£2.8m, was encouraging.
And next week the council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee will be asked to support the project with £20,000 for development funding, as well as earmarking between £250,000 and £280,000 for spending in 2015/16.
Work would start on the ground in September 2015, with the project being complete in 2019/20.
Early in 2011 the Friends of Hermitage Park was formed by residents who said the park had been in decline for decades and now received the ‘bare minimum of attention’.
Volunteers got to work themselves in tackling what was ‘an impenetrable jungle’ in places, then joined the groups in talks with council officials to develop a vision for the park.
Groups including the Friends of the Victoria Halls, Helensburgh and Gareloch Horticultural Society, SOS Fitness and the Helensburgh Play Park Association were also involved in talks which led to a the programme of improvements:
- Restoration of the historic walled memorial garden, pond and gates, old mill remains, old mill remains, well, Millig Burn paths, bridges and walls.
- Restoration or reinterpretation of historic planting, opening up site lines and improving safety
- Community involvement
- Paths and drainage being improved to increase public access
- Reconsideration of the play park, bowling green, tennis courts, putting green and pavilion
- New community and sensory gardens
- A new café
If councillors agree to provide 10% match funding, the draft stage one application would be submitted at the end of this month, with notification of the award if successful in June 2013.
Military Covenant and SportScotland funding are also being pursued.