Westside park to be transformed into sports campus

Works to transform Westside Amenity Park into Westside Sports Campus will begin in September with €1.75 million in funding secured for the project.

A funding shortfall of €1.6 million is being met out of the €8 million loan drawn down to facilitate the overspend on the Seamus Quirke Road.

At a meeting between City Hall’s director for recreation and amenity services Ciarán Hayes and the four councillors for the area - Labour’s Billy Cameron and Colette Connolly, Fianna Fáil’s Ollie Crowe, and the new Mayor of the city Pádraig Conneely - Mr Hayes confirmed he would be bringing forward a proposal to the July council meeting that the funding shortfall be sourced from the €8 million loan.

This fund compensates for the loss and disruption of the facilities for the duration of the roadworks and also the loss of recreational and amenity zoned lands to accommodate the road widening.

At the meeting, councillors were also updated on the masterplan which contains numerous objectives for the Westside Amenity Park.

It will see better pathways and avenues; public seating; new entrances and exits; a plaza area to create a hub around existing clubhouse facilities; a repositioned children’s playground; a youth adventure playground will make use of the natural topography of the park’s northeast corner; the running track will be resurfaced; exercise equipment for the elderly is proposed at stations along the pathways; and there will be additional pedestrian crossings.

The project will go out to tender if passed next month. A contract could be awarded by August with works beginning in September.

The news also means that St Michael’s GAA Club and Corrib Rangers FC are a step closer to getting back to their home pitches.

The widening and upgrade works on the Bishop O’Donnell/Seamus Quirke Road last year required land to be taken from the southern side of the park. This resulted in the GAA sports pitch and training areas moved further north, which in turn meant the soccer pitch also had to be relocated.

“This is welcome news,” said Cllr Cameron, “not alone for the sporting community of Newcastle/Westside, but the community in general who were seriously discommoded with the road upgrade works in the area and who showed great patience in awaiting the re-instatement of a vital piece of sports and recreation infrastructure.”

Cllr Connolly said the additional sporting facilities will be a “long-term positive gain” for the people of Westside.

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