An aerial view of the planned town park in Newport
For many years the people of Newport have been advocating for a playground and park for their communities.
That day has come a step closer with the signing of the contract for the town park and playground last Wednesday. This was followed later that afternoon by a sod-turning ceremony on site.
Located on the banks of the Mulkear River, the park site extends to over 2.5 hectares (6.25 acres). Permission for the development was granted by An Bord Pleanála in April 2019. The proposals, in addition to the town park, will include children’s playground, zip wire, outdoor gym equipment, pump track, multi-use games area (MUGA), recreational walks and seating.
Newport is a town with a growing population which doubled between 2001 and 2010, principally because of its proximity to Limerick. It has one of the highest proportion of young people in Tipperary with over 34% of the population under the age of 17. The facilities will be very welcome to families but they will also include landscaping, seating, sensory area, orchard, quiet areas and bandstand.
Nicholas de Jong Associates are the consultants who designed the project and who will oversee its construction.
The contract has been awarded to Sole Sports & Leisure Ltd, a Wexford based company that has extensive experience in the provision of such facilities.
The facility, which will see an investment of over €1.3 million, is partly funded through the Limerick Hinterland Fund from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with the balance of funding provided by Tipperary County Council.
Welcoming the signing of the contract, the cathaoirleach of Nenagh Municipal District Cllr Séamus Morris said: “This is a historic and eagerly anticipated day for the people of Newport. The project will deliver the facilities so badly needed by the town. I would like to thank the community for their support and engagement in helping Tipperary County Council to get to this day. And I look forward to the day in the not too distant future when the project will be fully completed and the facilities available for everyone to enjoy."
The chief executive of Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath is also looking forward to the successful delivery of the project.
“Tipperary County Council is delighted to be in a position to provide these much-needed facilities for Newport having successfully worked through the various stages including land acquisition, agreeing the design following engagement with the communities, putting in place the finance required, securing planning permission and procurement of the contractors.
"In 2021 this facility will be open to the public and I think at that stage Newport will have an attractive town park that will compare very favourably with any other such facilities”. He also thanked the members for their commitment and co-operation in ensuring that the project could be successfully brought to this stage.
Director of services Marcus O’ Connor looked forward to working with the community in Newport on other projects into the future and advised that public engagement will be commencing in the near future on an urban enhancement scheme for Newport aimed at co-ordinating improvements to the streetscapes and providing for the enhanced visual quality and amenity provision in the town.