LIMERICK City Council are to examine a proposal which would result in a major redevelopment of Caledonian Park.
Labour’s southside councillor Joe Leddin wants to see the Hyde Road park redeveloped in a similar manner to Shelbourne Park on the northside.
He wants the City Council to partner with Limerick regeneration and the park’s tenants Weston Villas and Prospect FC to introduce soccer pitches, running tracks and playground activities for young children.
Speaking on a motion, lodged at the council’s sporting and culture special policy committee, Cllr Leddin said: “We all know Caledonian Park as the spiritual home of soccer. We have clubs up in Caledonian Park which are operating on there for more years than I care to remember. It is important for young people in communities. But it is a large area in terms of management and maintenance,” he said.
He argued many clubs using the park are not enjoying the same facilities as those using Shelbourne Park, which was redeveloped five years ago.
“Shelbourne Park has been redeveloped over meetings, motions and a willingness to put a plan in place. Caledonian Park crosses geographical boundaries in the city - everyone has had an association with it,” Cllr Leddin told the meeting.
Independent northside councillor Kathleen Leddin seconded the motion, while committee chairman Cllr Michael Hourigan agreed wholeheartedly.
“It has been five years since we got Shelbourne Park off the ground, and it is a fantastic facility. This [motion] has to get the support of the council,” he said.
Northside Labour councillor Tom Shortt added: “Planning for sports facilities and social regeneration go hand in hand. We need more examples of Shelbourne Park around the city.”
He said soccer clubs like Northside Legacy have become “vehicles for anti-drugs awareness initiatives”.
“We need strategic planning for sports facilities, and it is a crucial thing we need to do in the city,” he said.
Director of service Kieran Lehane admitted he had used Caledonian Park - affectionately known as Cal’s Park - as a youngster, and said he would discuss the potential of redevelopment with Limerick Regeneration.
Cals Park was included in the regeneration scheme in 2008.