€58k set to build BMX course at Marlay Park

by Gazette Reporter
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AN ALLOCATION of more than €58,000 is being made to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to build a BMX course in Marlay Park, it was announced by the Department of Sport last week.
The new Marlay Park track will be of modest size and will fill the needs of local youngsters until a larger, state-of-the-art course will be built in Jamestown Park in the future.
A leading advocate for the BMX track in Marlay Park has been Cllr Lettie McCarthy (Lab), who submitted the original motion to create it.
Of the announcement, she said: “This is a very nice Christmas present. I began working on this idea at the beginning of the summer following representation from a Ballinteer mother asking if a BMX track could be reinstated in Marlay [Park].
“Now that €58k funding has been allocated, we have moved a step closer to making this a reality. Not every teenager or young person engages in formal play [ in areas such as] football, rugby or soccer, and it is imperative that we cater for the needs of all our young people.
“[Public] parks should be as diverse as possible, and this BMX track can teach children skills so they can cycle into the mountains to use those tracks when they are older.”
Ballinteer resident Karen Saunders, who petitioned Cllr McCarthy and others for the BMX track at Marlay Park, said: “I have a son who will soon be 16 and throughout the last few years, he and his friends go to Bushy Park Bowl to BMX or skateboard there.
“But, it is too far for them to travel there each day, and it is totally out of their district.
“I feel that our area and community are big enough to support our own BMX track, and Marlay Park once used to house a very popular track until they made a kids’ playground out of it.
“There is so little to do in a lot of areas for this age group, and any opportunity to offer them an activity to partake in that keeps them active, socialising and learning skills should be grabbed with both hands and made happen.”
A council spokesperson said: “The parks department has been informed that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s SportNation Grant Initiative 2013 grant of €58,824.00 has been approved.
“The preliminary design for this application was put together by a group from BMX Ireland and technical staff from [our] parks department.
“[The course] has been designed to be fit for purpose; the design involves reforming existing ground levels to provide four straight sections in a zig-zag pattern, with three challenging turns [curves].
“It is anticipated that [the] final design and [a] public consultation [process] will take place in spring/summer 2014, and with construction possibly taking place [next] October/November.”
Cllr Neale Richmond (FG) also welcomed the news of the new course.
He said: “This is great news for Marlay Park and the wider county. I have fond memories of cycling on the old BMX track in Marlay Park, and I am sure this news will be greeted by many local enthusiasts.”
Party colleague Deputy Olivia Mitchell said: “Improving local sports facilities gives both children and adults the opportunity to get involved in sport and fitness, and I know the BMX course will be welcomed by local teens and children who have long sought this type of facility in Marlay Park.”

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