New look for Westside playing fields, but one step at a time

The Westside Playing Fields are to be transformed with full size GAA and soccer pitches, an adventure playground, and a new running track, but work will have to take place in stages owing to “financial pressures”.

At Monday’s city council meeting, councillors discussed the proposed amenity park and other facilities for the Westside area of the city. There was also discussion about a new location for the bottle banks, currently located at the north of the park.

The Westside Playing Fields lie inbetween Bóthar Le Cheile, Siobhan McKenna Road, Circular Road, and Seamus Quirke Road, and currently contain the St Michael’s GAA Clubhouse, a GAA pitch, a soccer pitch and running track, tennis and basketball courts, a pathway, and green areas.

Under the plan, there will be a full sized GAA pitch for St Michael’s to the south of the fields, along with a training pitch for the club at its south-eastern end. There will also be a full sized soccer pitch and a relocated running track.

The children’s playground will also be moved from its current location; the basketball and tennis courts will be upgraded, and the green area will be developed into an adventure playground for teenagers. The skateboard area will remain where it is.

The old running track will have to be removed in order to accommodate the development of the new GAA pitch. Independent councillor Catherine Connolly expressed concern over this but was informed that this is the way the plan for the park had to proceed owing to “financial pressures”.

As there are not enough funds in place to carry out all the work on the park in one go, it has to proceed in stages. The first stage will be to deal with the St Michael’s pitches. The remaining work will be carried out through the city council budget and as Government funding becomes available. The plan was passed by city councillors.

The bottle bank proved another talking point. The plan will see them moved back to their original spot of Bóthar Le Cheile, but across from Ballard House. Following questions from Labour councillor Billy Cameron, city officials said if another spot could be found to located the bottle banks that it will be considered.

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