THE RAIN poured but did not dampen spirits as Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan opened the new community park and garden at King’s Island.
Described as a “flagship development” for the Limerick Civic Trust, who oversaw the development of what was previously a derelict site, the inspiration for the garden in fact came from the community, from two Church Street residents, Cait Collins and Marie McGrath, who approached the civic trust with the idea to develop the site.
Limerick Regeneration and FAS in turn provided support for the site’s development, which is owned by Limerick City Council, and a large number of councillors were on hand to watch Phil Hogan and the Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, officially open the garden last Saturday.
The Minister said he was “delighted to be a part of the opening ceremony”.
“Certainly it is great to see it coming to fruition and a site that was doing nothing is now going to be a very vibrant area for the local community and it is great to see so many people out here today, embracing some little modest development here in their local community,” he said.
Jennifer Gabbett, chairman of the Limerick Civic Trust, said the development was “fantastic”.
“We are thrilled to be here today, this is for the people of King’s Island and the whole city and for tourists and we want everybody to enjoy it,” she said.
“The fact that it was developed within the community, it was local people that came to us originally and asked us to do something with the site, so it has been a great project for us and we are thrilled to be part of it. It is a flagship programme for the civic trust for this year, so hopefully the start of many more,” she added.
One section of the community garden has been landscaped with flower beds and a seating area and the second section includes more than a dozen allotments where a variety of fruit and vegetables have already been grown. There is also a section where organic waste will be composted and prepared for re-use.
Mayor Long paid tribute to the residents who came up with the idea, and the fact that the garden was an “inter-agency development” that turned an eyesore into a “beautiful amenity”.
“This garden is for you all to enjoy and I hope you do for a long time,” he said, as the minister cut the ribbon and residents streamed into the picturesque garden.