More than two years ago, the Scottish government began a project to discover if community councils could work together for a common cause.
And if the success of the Queen’s Park Arena Project is anything to go by, then the answer is a resounding yes.
Representatives from four community councils (Crosshill/Govanhill, Langside, Battlefield and Camphill, Mount Florida, and Shawlands and Strathbungo) worked together tirelessly to make their dream of a resurrected performance space in Queen’s Park become a reality.
Dr Evelyn Silber, chair of the steering group, told The Extra: “We are delighted that this community-led project has attracted such a high level of public and stakeholder support.
“We look forward to achieving phase one so events can begin there in 2012 and are looking to develop our operation to run the events programme”.
Having layed derelict for the last 15 years, the century-old band-stand site is set to become a multi-functional outdoor arena for use by community and visiting performance groups.
Some of the events requested by locals during community consultation were music, dance, theatre, film, children’s activities, exercise classes and skating.
But now the dream looks set to become a reality and work is expected to take place this year on the first phase of the project which will restore and develop the arena terraces and provide a smooth, level performance space and new drainage and ground consolidation work.
The space should be ready to host an events programme in 2012, in time for the 150th anniversary of the Park’s opening in September 2012.
The first phase is expected to cost about £230,000 and funding has been secured from the Landfill Communities Fund, the Southside Central, Pollokshields and Langside Area Committees of Glasgow city council and the Strathbungo Society.
James Limb, chair of the Strathbungo Society, added: “Our organisation is very pleased to be able to support the Queen’s Park Arena, which will offer such potential in a beautiful setting in the heart of the southside”.
The project started as a pilot project supported by the Scottish government in pursuit of their empowering communities agenda and has made rapid progress since beginning in spring 2009.
Glasgow city council, who own the park, have supported the project by undertaking investigative ground surveys and will assist with the remedial underground works, landscaping and drainage works in the surrounding area.
The second phase of the project, estimated at £300k and consisting of a purpose-designed staging structure for film as well as performing arts, and further seating and facility improvements will be the subject of a second stage fund raising campaign.