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Photo 1: Members of the Maclean Lions Club were joined by Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis for the official sod turning ceremony at Townsend Park on April 27, signalling the beginning of a planned upgrade to improve facilities at the local attraction. Image: Emma Pritchard

Digging up smiles as upgrade goes ahead

Emma Pritchard

There was plenty of jubilation at Townsend Park last week as the shovel hit the ground and the first clod of earth in a $500000 project was turned over.

The current park facilities are set to be upgraded, thanks to the enormous efforts of Maclean Lions Club and Clarence Valley Council (CVC), who both secured grants to transform the location into a multi-purpose community space with an inclusive playground. Several members of the Maclean Lions Club, including Denise Worrill, attended the official sod turning ceremony on April 27 and said it was a great day for the local community.

“There are a lot of young families who live in the area, and the upgrade to this park will be very beneficial for them,” she said proudly.

“Maclean Lions Club have contributed a lot of work to this park over the years and we’re all pleased to see the upgrade is going ahead.”

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said the planned upgrade is a terrific result of community groups collaborating to get things done for their local community.

“This has been a long time coming,” he said of the upgrade, which he described as the genesis in terms of progress for the local area.

“This is a big community out here, and we need to have playgrounds for the kids because there are a terrific number of kids that are growing up here, and we need a lot of services and facilities here to support the growing community.

“This (upgrade) is a really good start and I’d like to thank Maclean Lions Club for their continuous help in looking after the park.”

His sentiments were echoed by Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons, who also acknowledged the Maclean Lions Club for their commitment in maintaining the park throughout the years and securing funds towards its planned upgrade. Maclean Lions Club secured a $140000 grant through the NSW Government’s Stronger Community Country Fund while CVC secured over $200000 from the Special Rate Variation.

Another $50000 was secured through the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program and $175000 through the NSW Government’s 2020-2021 Everyone Can Play grant program. Maclean Lions Club would especially like to thank their Grants Chairman Mark Ingram for his persistence in securing the grant to help make the upgrade possible. Construction is set to begin during the next few weeks and is scheduled to be completed by July 2021.