THE Sligo Champion Doorly Park 'Get Involved' project has scooped a major national award.
It placed a highly creditable 3rd out of 22 entries countrywide in a new competition run by local newspapers.
The awards were announced at a function in the Aisling Hotel, Dublin, last Thursday.
President Michael D Higgins later held a special reception in Aras an Uachtaráin for all participants.
The President said the projects were "very impressive."
He hailed the Doorly Park restoration scheme.
President Higgins said: "This entire initiative shows what can be done in terms of regeneration, recreation and repair.
The President also praised the support given to the project by The Sligo Champion.
He said: "Regional newspapers have played, and continue to play, a significant role in promoting a sense of belonging and identifying a particular place in the community."
The Doorly Park 'clean and green' project involved Sligo Tidy Towns Committee and a host of voluntary groups and individuals.
The project was assisted by Sligo LEADER, Sligo Men's Sheds, Blacksmith, Brian Halpin, the Martin Savage Terrace/ Doorly Park Residents Association, Bat Expert, Barbara McInerney, Bird Watch Ireland, Albany Decorplan, Stand Up Paddle, Sligo Athletic Club, Sligo Rowing Club, the Tidy Towns Bio-Diversity Committee, English-Irish translator, Martin Enright, and others.
Tidy Towns Chairman Des Faul said: "It was an honour to be chosen. We are all delighted with the overall result.
"It is a tribute to all involved.
"To come 3rd out of 22 entries was a great achievement."
The Doorly Park scheme included the complete restoration of the historic Doorly Park arch, the introduction of a new nature trail with information signs, the erection of bat and bird boxes, painting, and an extensive clean-up of the area.
Environmentalist and Architect, Duncan Stewart, led the panel of judges.
He described the Doorly Park project as "marvellous."
Duncan encouraged anyone travelling to Sligo to visit the area to sample the wonderful work which had been carried out.
Duncan Stewart said he had also been "overwhelmed" by what had been achieved by all 22 entries.
He added: "I believe we're on the cusp of a massive bottom-up revolution in this country.
"Project members, like those in Get Involved, will by the ones who pioneer this massive change."
Chairman of NNI Local and Regional, Michael Ryan, said all projects were "winners."
Sixteen projects which had been successfully completed were first acknowledged.
Three further project were then highly commended.
It was then down to the top three in the country.
The Sligo Champion Doorly Park project came third.
A scheme to improve Battery Heights in Athlone was second and the overall winner was a water conservation project by Kilmeena National School near Westport.