MITCHELSTOWN LEISURE CENTRE COULD START THIS YEAR
The proposed Mitchelstown Leisure Centre development at the canon’s field could, it seems, be in the pipeline to start towards the end of this year or early in 2011, depending on planning.
It has also emerged that the overall budget for the development is €2,200,000 and that the leisure centre committee already has €1,900,000 of this amount in the bank. It is hoped to raise the balance through the sale of the Peppermill premises in Upper Cork Street and possibly some grant aid from Ballyhoura Development.
The chairman of Mitchelstown Leisure Centre Ltd, Ben Lynch told The Avondhu, “We are adamant that we will not go into debt. It is always a challenge to make a community facility cover its day to day costs and put a small amount away for repairs and purchase of equipment without having to make loan repayments as well. It must be remembered that we have got no help by way of government grants, having tried unsuccessfully to secure this over many years.”
“The final design for the leisure centre is far from decided. We are working from the architectural brief prepared as part of the Holohan Report but the final design will only be agreed after consultations with the firm of architects who have yet to be appointed.”
“If we are fortunate enough to get full planning permission we see no reason why construction cannot begin by late 2010 or early 2011 with completion before the end of 2011.”
Mr Lynch continued, “That said, the core facilities will include an indoor sports hall suitably versatile to be available to a multiplicity of activities and adaptable to meet the needs of a wide variety of clubs or community groups. This will be large enough for 5-a-side football or basketball.”
“The sports hall will be complemented by a smaller activity hall which has potential as a boxing ring, martial arts, dance classes, aerobics etc. We hope to include a good size fitness suite to meet the needs of both the very active sports participants and those of all ages who want to work-out under the guidance of qualified fitness experts.”
YOUTH CAFE AREA
“The canon’s field development will also have a cafe area and it is hoped that it will be sufficiently adaptable to fit the needs of both the regular users of the sports facilities, while meeting the requirements of an attractive youth cafe area.”
However, Ailbe Coleman, a member of the youth cafe committee that currently operates the facility at Upper Cork Street, is adamant that such an area must be designated a specific space that the youth of the town can call their own.
“We made a number of proposals on foot of the Holohan Report but there has been absolutely no comeback. It’s very disappointing,” he told The Avondhu.
Ben Lynch added, “We accept that this may be a challenge to the architects, but it will form part of their brief. The cafe area will be a key component of the centre as we are very keen that the people of Mitchelstown will see the centre as a focal point of the community and a place in which to meet and relax.”
“Outside, we plan to have two 40mx25m artificial pitches which will be floodlit to maximise availability throughout the year. It is envisaged that these will be particularly attractive to the schools in the town, and indeed to schools in the outlying area also.”
THE SWIMMING POOL
When questioned on the possibility of a swimming pool being located on the site sometime in the future, Ben Lynch said that this would remain a medium to long term prospect.
“The Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism hasn’t entertained any application for swimming pool funding for over ten years and aren’t likely to do so until the end of 2011, so we would just have to join the queue,” he told The Avondhu.
“We felt that it wasn’t fair to hold up the whole project and decided to proceed with the other leisure facility developments. However, there is space there for a pool and it may happen in time,” Mr Lynch added.
The chairman of the leisure centre committee also said, “In addition to the community facilities outlined, we are hopeful that the Mitchelstown Forum will be successful in securing funding for their proposed enterprise centre. To that end, we have committed to provide them with a site within the canon’s field as we believe it will complement the leisure facilities to have a vibrant employment base close by.”
Speaking on behalf of Mitchelstown Forum, Tom Whelton said, “We are giving the leisure centre group some space to allow the project develop. We do, however, have a deadline from Enterprise Ireland who are committed to providing 45% funding up to a ceiling of €450,000. The total cost will be in the region of €1m and we’re hoping to use a BES (Business Expansion Scheme) to fund the balance.”
“We are confident that the development of the canon’s field will bring a much needed boost to Mitchelstown and we are determined to deliver the amenity as quickly as we possibly can,” Ben Lynch concluded.
Thursday 13th May 7:28pm