The first phase of the Tees Heritage Park will be launched at a fun event on Sunday, 23 September at Preston Hall.
The Tees Heritage Park is a visionary concept stretching between Yarm and Stockton. It takes in the open land along the River including the Leven Valley and Bassleton Beck.
Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Community Spaces programme, managed by Groundwork UK, combined with funding from Stockton Council already earmarked for new cycleways and a contribution from Natural England, more than £600,000 has been invested into Phase 1 of the park, which is now essentially complete.
The park has been created thanks to a partnership between the Friends of Tees Heritage Park, Environment Agency, Canal & River Trust, Stockton Council, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and Groundwork North East.
Phase 1 has seen new gateway features installed, improved footpaths and landscape artworks and rest areas created to help turn 2,000 acres of natural environment into a facility for people to appreciate and enjoy.
The five major artworks are located at the Holmes and Black Bobbies in Thornaby and Bassleton Beck Valley, Bowesfield Nature Reserve and Preston Park.
The new gateways into the park will include a 2m high, cast iron 'signal post' designed by artists Keith Barrett and Linda Watson, who also designed the artworks, to identify the location. The sculptures also include a tag which enables smart phone users to access more information and provide links to a host of websites about the Heritage Park and the area in general.
The launch event takes place at Preston Hall from 2.30-6pm on Sunday, September 23. There will be fun for all the family including craft activities and displays explaining the different elements of the park.
Doug Nicholson, Chair of the Friends of Tees Heritage Park, said: "It is wonderful to see a dream we had eight years ago now turned into reality. Tees Heritage Park is driven and supported by the community and we want it to be a haven for generations to enjoy our fantastic heritage and landscape."
Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, added: "The vision for Tees Heritage Park has been made possible by great partnership working and the commitment of the Friends of Tees Heritage Park. It is exciting to have the park officially launched for people to enjoy. The river is at the heart of Stockton and Tees Heritage Park is a celebration of our natural asset."