Working with Cork County Council on establishing a Multi-Use Games Area in Passage West
In 2009, an outgoing Town Councilor who had been very involved in successfully fundraising for the playground with the Passage West Amenity Association asked myself and another member of the incoming Town Council to work on establishing a Multi-Use Games Area in the town. A MUGA is a recreational facility incorporating basketball, tennis and other games facilities suitable for older children and teens.
At the time, the only site that was available was the remaining grassed area in Fr. O’Flynn Park. This was not a suitable site, either aesthetically or physically. But in 2011, the former Marmullane Tennis Club site came into Cork County Council ownership. At the request of the Town Council, the derelict site was cleared. This was the ideal site for a MUGA.
I had been involved in getting designs for the Monkstown playground at the time and asked one of the play area providers to look at the site. They were tremendously excited by it: its size and layout offered all sorts of possibilities even beyond just the MUGA. We prepared to go for SECAD funding for its design and construction.
The lands were owned by Cork County Council, so I put a presentation together which we delivered first to the members of the Town Council and then to Cork County Council. It was very well received. But Cork County Council liked the project so much that they wanted to run with it as a County Council project, not a community project.
Cork County Council prepared and secured planning permission for the MUGA and adjacent outdoor table tennis area at the Marmullane Tennis Club site without delay. It applied for Sports Capital Grant funding for its construction. But money was not forthcoming for either this or the host of other projects within the county for which funding had been applied. I have spent the last year asking Cork County Council to collaborate with the Passage West community on advancing the project. Concurrently, I have been fighting for the County Council to release special planning contributions received from the development of Harbour Heights specifically for amenity purposes. These could more than fund its construction. At present, the MUGA/table tennis development has been resubmitted for Sports Capital funding.
This project is vital for the young people of Passage West. It will succeed.