Strabane's new synthetic pitch officially opens

synthetic pitch strabane
Image caption The new facility will cater for football, rugby and Gaelic sport

A new £1.4 million sports facility in Strabane has been officially opened.

It is hoped the 3G multi-sports pitch at Melvin Sports Complex will be a hub for sporting activities and promote healthier lifestyles.

Derry City and Strabane District Council said the facility will encourage cross community relations in the area.

A fun day involving local community and sports groups marked its official opening.

Image copyright DCSDC
Image caption It is hoped the £1.4million facility will encourage and promote healthier and more active lifestyles

"It's a huge investment for the Strabane area and something many of the local community and sports groups have been campaigning for," Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Maolíosa McHugh said.

The 3G pitch replaces the previous sand based synthetic pitch and grass playing areas and will primarily cater for football, rugby and Gaelic sport.

The Mayor said the new facility addresses concerns over all year round pitch provision in the County Tyrone town.

"It can also be used to promote and develop social and partnership engagement between the various sports clubs and cross community interaction," he said.

Image copyright DCSDC
Image caption The official opening was marked with a community fun day

DCSDC chief executive John Kelpie said the latest investment complements a £2.2million overhaul of the Melvin Complex in 2014.

He said the complex reflects the council's commitment to invest in sport and "now meets the criteria for intermediate standard football."

An Ulster rugby sports day, GAA and soccer blitzes and a Special Olympics event are all planned at the Strabane sports complex in the coming weeks.

It opens to the public on 1 June.