A milestone moment for Athlone Tennis Club, the granting of planning permission for the construction of a multi-purpose dome structure is a boost for club members as works on the new development at Cloghanboy continue apace.
A planning application for the dome’s construction was lodged by Athlone Tennis Club in October, the relevant authority granting planning permission for its construction on Thursday last.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser on Tuesday morning, Mr Pat Conway, a member of the club’s development committee, stated that the granting of planning permission for the dome structure which will house three internal tennis courts, is positive news for the future of tennis in Athlone and the Midlands community, the potential for expansion of the game now vast.
“Now that planning permission has been granted for the construction of our dome structure, we can commence preparations for making the necessary applications to the relevant lending agencies for funding,” Mr Conway said.
Construction of the multi-purpose dome structure is expected to cost approximately €700,000, with the committee in the process of devising numerous fundraising initiatives to bridge the financial shortfall.
“The development, when complete, is expected to cost €1.3 million, and as a committee we will make the necessary funding applications to the relevant lending agencies. Having construction completed on Phase 1a of the development affords us much credibility in this regard and I would hope that when our funding applications are submitted they would be looked favourably upon,” Mr Conway remarked.
The dome structure, when complete, will be a sporting vision, and enable Athlone Tennis Club, but for this phase of the development to be realised, the committee are hoping for financial support from the business community.
In 2021, Athlone Tennis Club achieved funding of €150,000 from the LEADER Transition programme, a sum totalling €97,116 from the Sports Capital programme and a financially productive bond scheme which realised €120,000 from 49 members allowing the club to reach this particular stage of development.
“Presently, we are looking to smaller businesses within the local community in the hope that they would be in a position to donate any sum from €250 to €1,000 towards our development.
“As we advance our development, we aim to approach larger companies based in Athlone for their support, the incentive for such businesses being an attractive package for employees to enhance their health and wellbeing as members of Athlone Tennis Club.
“Those companies, located in Athlone, but with an extended reach, will also have the opportunity to sponsor our development, with dome structure naming rights potentially on offer to those who choose to afford significant funding towards our cause,” Mr Conway commented.
It is hoped that the dome structure will become an integral part of the community and be adaptable for use by fellow sporting clubs in the future.
“When constructed, we are hopeful that, in liaison with Tennis Ireland, the dome structure will host regional and national indoor tournaments and with a multipurpose use for fellow sporting clubs in our community,” Mr Conway stated.
Mr Conway also confirmed to the Athlone Advertiser that planning permission has been granted in recent times for the construction of a modular clubhouse on the new development site.
“Funding for the construction of an on site clubhouse is considerable, but the club has recently been granted planning permission for the construction of same. Modular in design, when complete, the clubhouse will be energy efficient, feature a kitchen and sitting area internally and external decking from which activity on the tennis courts can be viewed,” Mr Conway added.
A positive new year now awaits Athlone Tennis Club. As the club approaches prepares to call game, set and match on its playing times at Athlone GAA, pastures new are very much on the horizon with the hope that a new artificial clay surface is laid and ready for action in Spring 2023.