RESEARCH conducted by the University of Limerick shows a majority of Limerick people believe the development of the Opera Centre site is the key to the revitalisation of the city centre.
Renewing Limerick 2012 was a public engagement exercise undertaken by staff and students at the Department of Politics and Public Administration on behalf of Limerick City Council’s Economic Development and Future Planning SPC.
Researchers met with members of the public at different locations across the city and in different environments to establish their attitudes towards the city and, in particular, the city centre.
The findings, which will be presented to City Councillors next week, show that a large number of participants said the development of the Opera Centre, which was bought for €12m by Limerick City Council, is hugely important.
A recurring them was the need for a multi-use development at the site including some form of square or plaza.
Outlining the findings of the research to members of the Economic Development and Future Planning SPC, Dr Chris McInerney said many people were opposed to the concept of a retail development and would like to see the development incorporating Limerick’s cultural and arts heritage.
He said participants also suggested that a cinema should be constructed in city centre as a priority.
The Milk Market was almost universally highlighted as being one of main attractions in the city centre as was the Georgian Heritage.
However, Dr McInerney said a lot of people stated that the city centre is in decline and there is no atmosphere after 6pm. “There is no doubt that the city centre is in decline but people were willing to outline why it is in decline and give their views as to what should be done,” he said.
Members of the Economic Development and Future Planning SPC have welcomed the findings of the research, which will be discussed in detail in the coming weeks.