A DREAM will be fulfilled for the progressive community of Balla next Monday, February 20, when the local Neighbourhood Community Woodland project is officially opened at 1.30 p.m.
The ceremony will be performed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State for Forestry Andrew Doyle.
The project was an initiative of Balla Town Park Limited, a community-based voluntary organisation responsible for the management and maintenance of 180 acres of mostly mature native woodlands, donated to the people of the town by the Blosse-Lynch family in the 1920s.
Many developments have taken place on the site over the years and the Neighbourhood Community Woodland project is arguably the most impressive.
It was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine with the cooperation of the Western Forestry Co-Op.
The work consisted of the development of nature trails, signage and information boards throughout the woodlands.
Balla Town Park created a record in 2000 with its Dawn Park millenium project in which the community planted 2,000 oak trees on the stroke of the new millenium.
Two years ago Balla Town Park was awarded the overall Connaught award at the RDS National Forestry Awards and has been nominated for a further one in March.
Recent works have included the removal of large areas of laurel and rhododendrons and replacing them with 5,000 native Irish species, the installation of owl and bat boxes, a tree trail and information boards outlining the extensive range of flora and fauna in the woodland.
Another special feature is the magical fairy village.
Everybody is welcome to the official opening which is followed by refreshments in Balla Resource Centre.