Ferrybank en fete as Park Life consultation proves a resounding success\ OVER 250 residents of Ferrybank and their neighbours from surrounding communities turned up at their new park site at the weekend to have their say on the layout and design of a new 2.5 acre neighbourhood park which is to be developed close to their homes.
The organisers, Kilkenny Recreation & Sports Partnership, were thrilled with the turnout and with the content and design ideas mooted by the enthusiastic group of children, parents, grandparents and residents of the area who gathered at the site from 2pm onwards on Saturday.
Local councillor, Fidelis Doherty, was one of many who walked the site, mapped out what she’d like to see there and presented a sketch of her ideal layout and design to the organisers. “I’d love to see a play area for adults. It might sound off the wall but adults like to have fun too!
“I’d love to see adult swings and an adult slide. Plus an outdoor bowling area. There’s a fantastic indoor bowls group in Mullinavat. I don’t see why we couldn’t have the same here and form an outdoor group,” the enthusiastic councillor said.
Father of four Gavin Cuddihy can see the new park site from his front room. “I’ll have the best of both worlds – a place where the children can play and I won’t even have to cut the grass.
“I’d love to see a play area for the children as well as a walking track with a hard surface where we can all walk in safety – and push a buggy. We usually pop in the car and go to Kilmacow to the park. It will be fantastic to have one on our doorstep.”
Gemma Hoole is originally from Manchester but now lives within 200 yards of the park site with her son, 14 month-old Emanuel. “The closest park to us at the moment is The People’s Park and it’s a long way over the bridge and out the road. I don’t drive.
“This new park will be brilliant and it will be great to see all the children form the area play here. I’d love to see it laid out to include a picnic area, a children’s area and a separate area laid out for adults. I’m really excited about it.”
Heather Bohil and her friend, Lisa O’Brien, both brought their children to see the site. Both typically go to the park in Kilmacow but said the new Ferrybank park will be far more convenient. “I’d love to see exercise machines for the teenagers. All of our children are into sport and they would be great. The sooner this park is developed the better,” Heather said.
Lisa, who has a 2 year-old, also had very definite ideas about what she wanted to see developed. “I’d love it if there was a good mix with dedicated areas for children of different ages. It might include a sandpit, a soft play area and a dedicated area for teens. There’s really nowhere else for them to go at the moment,” she said.
Six year-old Molly Rafter from Thomond in Limerick was there with her granny, Aileen Power, from Aylesbury. “Molly wants a twirlie slide and a hidden fairy trail. She’s got a fairy door at home. She’d love an area filled with lots of purple fairy doors. I’d love to see a nice walking area, seating and maybe even a walking track. I had my knee done in the past few weeks so I’d love a surface like that to walk on,” Aileen Power said.
Family life has changed and quite a number of grandparents are now minding their grandchildren during the week and at weekends, Matthew Roche from Belmont said as he examined the site.
“I’ve 6 grandchildren and we’d normally go to Kilmacow to the park. It will be fantastic to have one here in Ferrybank. It’s long overdue. I’d love to see lots of play areas for the children, picnic facilities and a good bit of strategically placed seating so we can keep an eye on our grandchildren.”
Landscape architect with Kilkenny County Council, Claire Goodwin, was absolutely delighted with the turnout and said the information gleaned would all be incorporated into the plan for the site.
“The next stage of the process is the design of a masterplan. In line with Part 8 of the Planning and Development Act, the proposed masterplan will be published and further submissions will be invited before the layout is finalised.
“Preparatory work will continue on the site during the summer and early autumn. But given the drainage on some parts the site, as we see here today, it is more likely that major works would not begin until the weather improves in 2018.”
KRSP Sports Development Officer, Caitriona Corr, said they were bowled over by the enthusiasm and the positive feedback from the local community. “This was an exceptional day and getting the community to the site and asking them for their opinions has been such a worthwhile exercise. We can’t wait to deliver this project and the local community is so enthusiastic.
“We couldn’t have asked for greater cooperation. Today is just the start. We will continue to work with the community and we will be setting up a local group which will have its say at every single step along the way. It’s great to see people here from the active retirement group, the two county childcare committees, the residents group, schools and the neighbourhood.”
Workshops and other events with the local community continue over the coming weeks.