The Liberties looks set for a makeover

by Gazette Reporter

Plans are afoot to improve the environmental surroundings of The Liberties area which could see more green space, playgrounds, community areas and trees introduced.
A draft Liberties local environment improvement plan is being worked on by Dublin City Council to make The Liberties a more attractive place to live and work.
Commenting on proposed plans, a council official told local representatives at a recent area committee meeting that the plan is against the backdrop of “very positive” developments and announcements made in The Liberties in recent months including a €40m property development at the Digital Hub comprising 10,650 sq ft of additional enterprise office space and a housing development for 470 students on Bonham Street.
“We feel this environmental improvement plan will be complementary to the private investment that is coming to the area and will attract further and future investment.
“There has been comment and observations on the need for such a plan in the area, a cause for more open space, playgrounds, allotments and this plan aims to address these calls that have been coming from many different quarters but also the council has identified the need for this.”
The plan is said to be consistent with the local area plan for The Liberties and is expected to be implemented over a five to six-year period.
It is hoped that funding for the project will be allocated over the five- years and some projects will be prioritised over others.
The council believe the area has a “poor provision” of open space in comparison with other Dublin areas and also a “deficit” of public play areas in that part of the city.
There are currently two local green spaces, Oscar Square and Park Terrace, but the council believe they are “limited in their use” as they can really “only serve local streets around the area”.
Key recommendations being proposed include two new parks – one at Bridgefoot Street and one at Cork Street, which would be known as Weaver Park. Upgrading civic spaces at High Street and Newmarket, improvements to existing Heritage spaces to include better access and allotments in community gardens are also being considered.
A number of options are currently being developed by the council which could see a “good sized” playground and skate park, as well as a multi-functional area for community events in the proposed Weaver Park at Cork Street. Proposals for Bridgefoot Street Park could see a community garden, allotments, playground, MUGA (multi use games area) and multi-functional area which could hold a weekend market.
The next step for the plan will see the council engage in further consultation with elected members, the community and also stakeholders to work towards agreeing a final plan and strategy, as well as working towards a capital programme for the project.
Commenting on the plan, Labour Cllr Rebecca Moynihan said: “This has been an issue for a long time in the inner city. People have been talking about it but this is the first time we have taken concrete steps to move it along.”
Sinn Fein Cllr Criona Ni Dhalaigh said: “It’s not often you come to a meeting, get a presentation like this and say yes this is exactly what is needed.”
The council hope to finalise the plans and see them approved within six months, with the public consultation phase being implemented within two to three months.

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