Major funding announced for outdoor recreation park

Funding of €784,000 has been allocated towards the building of an outdoor recreation park at Athlone Regional Sports Centre.

The funding, announced by Minister for Rural Affairs, Michael Ring, is part of the Government’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The scheme provides funding for the development of outdoor recreational infrastructure and for the necessary maintenance, enhancement, or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas across Ireland.

The facility will provide an extension to the Sports Centre and will incorporate existing facilities of the children’s playground area, including disability swings and the skateboard park.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Kevin “Boxer” Moran, has welcomed the announcement.

“The funding awarded today is money that will be well spent,” he said. “I met with the Sports Centre manager, Liam Cunningham, and his team, together with the County Council and the local Municipal District Council, to assist in every way I could to advance this project at Government level.”

“This is fantastic news for Athlone and surrounding areas,” he added. “The new outdoor facilities will include an easy trail, a walking track, a more difficult or competitive track with hills, together with a sprinting track. And to complement the range of fitness options, there will also be an outdoor fitness boot camp, similar to the one that has been installed at Monksland.”

The new recreational park will encompass a BMX area and a family/picnic zone, as well as enjoying an access point to the Greenway with free parking at the Sports Centre.

Other projects in the South Westmeath area that have received funding include: €10,000 to the Old Rail Trail, including landscaping at Sarsfield Square, signage, and maintenance; €10,000 to Portlick to enhance the walkway and signage; €10,000 to Big Meadow for signage, maintenance, upgrading, and cutting bushes for easy access; €10,000 to the Golden Mile for the upgrading of golden sand and addressing minor flood ponding; €10,000 to the Old CIE Road Moate.

Longford-Westmeath TD, Peter Burke (FG ), said this funding is the result of months of effort on behalf of local authorities, State agencies, and communities, who have worked tirelessly developing project proposals.

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