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Historic park celebrates reopening

18 May 2012

A historic park at the heart of the world’s first Garden City is set to celebrate its reopening following a £2.7 million refurbishment with a free afternoon of music and entertainment.  North Herts District Council (NHDC) is inviting people to join in the celebrations on Saturday 26 May in Howard Park and Gardens, Letchworth from 12.30pm to 5pm.  

Following an official opening ceremony, NHDC’s Play Rangers will be keeping children up to 11 years old entertained while Groundwork Herts run a range of ‘Spots v Stripes’ games and competitions.  Vintage funfair rides including swingboats and a classic roundabout will be in action throughout the afternoon.

Music on the day will be provided by the International Sweethearts of Soul and their popular seven-piece soul/funk band, Letchworth’s very own Garden City Samba drummers,  Highfield school indie band, Easy Lies, and Gaijin, an eight-piece reggae ensemble.  Belly dancing from Horizon and the Azimuth completes the entertainment line-up.  

As well as enjoying the programme of events, visitors will be able to explore the new look park with improved play areas, new signs about the history of the area and its flora and fauna, modern toilets, a kiosk serving refreshments and a 119 metre paddling pool and water feature.  The project also restored the adjacent Howard Gardens, reopened late last year, with the bulk of the overall funding coming from Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.

Cllr Ian Knighton, NHDC’s portfolio holder for leisure, said: “A lot of work has gone in to this project and we’ve already had plenty of people telling us how great the park now looks.  This wouldn’t have been possible without Lottery funding, and our thanks too go to LDA Design for their work as landscape architects and UPM Tilhill who carried out the improvement works.

“Now, with all the new facilities fully open to the public, we hope that people from Letchworth and beyond can make it to Howard Park and Gardens on the day and join in the celebrations.  Who knows, we might even get some sun!”

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “HLF is delighted that thanks to Lottery player's money Howard Park and Gardens will once again be at the heart of the community through improved accessibility and engagement.  The Park contains Letchworth’s first public building, Mrs Howard Hall, demonstrating how important this park is to the local community.”