The elected members of Castlebar Town Council, gave a warm welcome to the news that €1.8 million will be spent by the Town Council on the new town park. The meeting was shown initial draft drawings for the new town park which were put together by Padraig Kelly, executive architect for the Town Council.These drawings allowed for the creation of a public green space, walkways, a public paved area, a full size GAA and a full size soccer pitch. Town Manager Seamus Granahan told the members that the council had got approval from the Government to spend €1.8 million which has come from internal receipts from the sale of local authority housing and from a the planned maintenance programme. Mr Granahan went on to say that this represented a great opportunity for the town to put in a high-quality public space near the centre of the town for all the people to enjoy.
Fine Gael Councillor Brendan Heneghan told the meeting that “this is great news for Castlebar, we sometimes don’t appreciate the green spaces in the town and this is a great opportunity to increase the quality of life for all those in the town. If this comes off it will be a great asset to the people of the town.” Labour Cllr Johnny Mee said that “this a wonderful opportunity for the town, this area could become one of the main attractions near the heart of the town. It is important though that we speak to all the relevant groups in the town to make sure that this new park caters for the whole community.” Cllr Eugene McCormack, welcoming the news, asked that a running track be included in the design with one of the playing pitches as the old one currently being used at St Mary’s is well below par and a new one is needed in the town.
Independent Cllr Michael Kilcoyne was happy with the news but also issued some words of caution. “Many times in this chamber we have brought up the issue of green spaces in the town and not got too far, so it’s great to see progress like this being made. But, it is also vitally important that we discuss this thoroughly with the residents in the areas who will live near by. And if there are going to be access routes in and out from the estates to the park, I think it’s important that we have some kind of CCTV cameras installed to deter people from gathering in groups at night time and to give the residents some piece of mind.” Sinn Féin Cllr Noel Campbell said that “after speaking for so long about green spaces, it’s nice to see plans like this before us. We will have a nice spread of amenities for all the people in the town with this and if we can link this up with the riverside walk we could have a great amenity.”
Responding to the proposals put forward by the councillors, Town Manager Seamus Granahan told the members that “these drawings are to only give you an idea of what kind of thing were looking at doing. We will be talking to all the stakeholders before the project goes ahead, in relation to what’s needed in the park, access routes in and out of it and where to locate car parks around the park.”