“ENORMOUS progress” has been made this week in cleaning up the “eyesore” €300m Opera Centre development site in the city - thanks to millionaire businessman and philanthropist JP McManus.
But a spokesperson for the JP McManus Charitable Foundation said they hope they won’t have to return to the site of the stalled shopping centre again next year.
“We’d be very disappointed if we had to go back in in a year’s time. It is up to the City Council now to maintain it,” said Gerry Boland, director of the charitable foundation.
However, Limerick City Council have informed the Leader that any clean-up works are the responsibility of the developers and not City Hall.
Thousands of euro have been donated from the foundation to clean the six-acre site, and ultimately present a better image of Limerick to visitors. The whole site was powerhoused, boardings painted, gutters checked and repair work carried out.
“There is a huge transformation already. The works were an immediate response to a need that was there. There are no other sites on the agenda at present, but obviously we [the foundation] have a huge interest in Limerick and it is upsetting when areas are neglected,” said Mr Boland.
Works were carried out in consultation with the developers, Regeneration Developments Ltd, who have seen the value of the site written down by some €80m in just three years.
Mr Boland said the case of the Opera Centre, which was due to become “Limerick’s shopping mecca”, arose at the foundation’s meeting in Martinstown, county Limerick, when they were discussing their programme of works for 2011/12.