Abbeyfeale town park is in need of revamp, the community believes
THE Abbeyfeale Town Park committee has appealed to the council for assistance in revamping the park as it marks its 20th anniversary.
“It has been a joy for all of us to be involved in this project,” committee secretary Gerardine O’Brien told councillors at the July meeting of Newcastle West Municipal District.
But now, after 20 years, the park, which attracts up to 100,000 visitors a year, is in need of an upgrade, she said.
It costs over €8000 a year to keep the park open and just €2000 of this comes from Limerick City and County Council, she explained. “Initially, when we leased the playground space to the council, we hoped the council would give us a grant of €10,000 a year,” Ms O’Brien said. That didn’t happen, but they were still hopeful. “It that could be established, this figure would keep us open for business. We need finance that we can be sure of.”
In a detailed submission, Ms O’Brien, who was accompanied by other committee members, spelled out the work that needs attention in the park and illustrated it with photographs.
Rotten fencing and worn matting in the two playground areas need to be replaced; pathways which have become worn and eroded need to be resurfaced; diseased trees need to be removed; the car park and public toilets need to be revamped.
In addition, the mini-pitch, which is in constant use, and which is a huge attraction needs to be spruced up.
Ms O’Brien also raised the problem of erosion, explaining that sections of the river bank had been eroded as the river changed course. The situation needed to be addressed urgently, she urged.
“It is great to see things being worn out,” director of services Gordon Daly commented. “It shows they are being used.”
He acknowledged the work done by the voluntary committee over the years before adding; “It is clear to anybody this morning this needs investment.” And he proposed bringing different members of council staff together to look in more detail at the committee’s submission and to work out what could be done. Costs also need to be explored, he said and the long-term maintenance and management were another matter.
At one point, Ms O’Brien reminded him, the council itself was looking to take over the park. “We would be interested to see if the council would take it over,” she said. “But if we got €10,000 plus every year, we would have no issues staying on as a management group.”
Afterwards, councillors agreed that investment was needed and the committee should be supported. “You can see how passionate they are,” Cllr Francis Foley said. “It is a very very important facility. We need a programme of works.”
“The first thing we need to do is give these people help and put a programme together.
“There are strands of money out there and we need to help them to access those funds,” Cllr John Sheahan said.
“Either the council takes it in charge or else makes a significant contribution,” Cllr Michael Collins declared. But he added: “If the erosion is not addressed there will be no playground in time.” He accepted the council did not have responsibility for river erosion but argued that it was a safety issue and that the OPW be written to again.
The problem, Cllr Foley said, starts at Feale’s Bridge and runs all the way down to the mart in Abbeyfeale.