Big plans for park up­grade

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - AROUND KINSALE ROAD - Alan Healy

Vis­i­tors to Kin­sale Road and its en­vi­rons will soon also get to en­joy pub­lic events and great out­door ac­tiv­i­ties as plans for the Tram ore Val­ley Park con­tinue apace.

As the Kin­sale Road area con­tin­ues to change with new de­vel­op­ments on the hori­zon, it is dif­fi­cult to miss the pres­ence of the Tramore Val­ley Park that is set to dom­i­nate the area and the wider Cork city long into the fu­ture.

The 70-hectare area is des­tined to be­come a ma­jor park of re­gional sig­nif­i­cance. A lo­ca­tion for run­ners, walk­ers and cy­clists. Peo­ple can use it as part of their com­mute or a place to have their lunch.

It will also be a way for Cork to put its best face for­ward as one of the first sights vis­i­tors to the city will get when they ar­rive from the air­port.

Lo­cated be­tween the South Ring Road, the Link Road, Nemo Rangers and the South Dou­glas Road it is long-re­mem­bered as the City dump.

From the 1960s on­wards the site was used as a land­fill and in the fol­low­ing decades, the nearby busi­nesses and res­i­dents suf­fered the smells, flies and seag­ulls that come with such a site. In those four decades, the dump gath­ered three mil­lion tonnes of waste.

Thank­fully, the city saw sense and in 2009 the de­ci­sion was made to cease all land­fill op­er­a­tions and work be­gan to turn the mas­sive site into an at­trac­tion.

Since then work has been on­go­ing to cap the for­mer dump and ex­ten­sive work has gone into con­vert­ing the site for use as a ma­jor re­gional park.

The mas­ter­plan for the site in­cludes walk­ing trails; cy­cle paths; an out­door ac­tiv­ity area in­clud­ing zip-lines, climb­ing walls and an as­sault course; a mo­torhome and a car­a­van park.

Work has been tak­ing place on a phased ba­sis. In 2015 an Olympic- stan­dard BMX track opened in the park with hopes of at­tract­ing reg­u­lar events and com­pe­ti­tions to Cork. Weekly 5km parkruns were so pop­u­lar cars were queu­ing on the dual car­riage­way forc­ing the runs to move to Ballincol­lig due to safety con­cerns.

The BMX club has called for progress on bring­ing more clubs and ac­tiv­i­ties into the park high­light­ing the po­ten­tial it has.

Ear­lier this year, Cork County Coun­cil pub­lished plans for a €3.2m cy­cle/pedes­trian bridge over the N40 South Ring Road from Grange and Frank­field into the park. A sin­gle-span steel truss bridge is pro­posed, cross­ing both lanes of the N40.

It would travel from the eastern side of Ver­non Mount House close to the Alden Grove es­tate across the road to the park close to Nemo Rangers GAA pitches where it will link to ex­ist­ing cy­cle paths in the park.

As well as the bridge, the plans call for a new wood­land walk­way and cy­cle path that would be ac­cessed from the Grange Road close to the Church of the In­car­na­tion.

The four-me­tre wide path will have street­lights and will run along­side the Ver­non Mount stream. Once built, the bridge will act as a cat­a­lyst for fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the park and of­fer cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans in Grange and Frank­field bet­ter ac­cess to Dou­glas and the city.

It is also ex­pected the new route would re­duce car us­age in the ar­eas. The Grange Road has a pop­u­la­tion of al­most 7,000 and at present, 76% of jour­neys from the area to work or school are by car.

Another fea­ture of the Tramore Val­ley Park mas­ter­plan is a pro­posal to build a sculp­ture on the top of the hill in the cen­tre of the park that would be­come an iconic fea­ture of the Cork sky­line.

For vis­i­tors en­ter­ing the city from Cork Air­port or along the South Ring Road, the sculp­ture will be par­tic­u­larly prom­i­nent.

While progress on the Tramore Val­ley Park has been tak­ing time, one city coun­cil­lor wants to set aside money in its Novem­ber bud­get to al­low the park to open next year.

For­mer Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill is propos­ing an al­lo­ca­tion of €70,000, the fig­ure needed to run the park each year.

“Tramore Val­ley is a vast fa­cil­ity that will hold many ac­tiv­ity events like we saw with the parkrun. The parkrun move­ment is hugely suc­cess­ful is parts of Ire­land and be­yond and a bril­liant ex­am­ple on this is on Bere Is­land in West Cork.

“If my fel­low coun­cil­lors sup­port my pro­posal as a coun­cil we can of­fer a great fa­cil­ity to com­mu­ni­ties, res­i­dent sports clubs while also mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to the healthy well­be­ing of the peo­ple of Cork,” he said.

While it may take time to fully open, the po­ten­tial of the Tramore Val­ley Park is plain to see. In the space of a decade, Ire­land’s new­est and most sig­nif­i­cant park will be the doorstep of all those who live and work in the Kin­sale Road area.

Com­puter gen­er­ated view of the planned cy­cle/ pedes­trian bridge across the South Ring Road when viewed look­ing east.

More im­ages: www.ver­non­mount­­ley-park-plan.php

Plans for Tramore Val­ley Park plan in­clude the use of de­mount­able, light­weight struc­tures to be used in out­door events at the park.

Pic­tures: Larry Cum­mins / also video in Ir­ishEx­am­ on­line ar­chive

A view of the BMX Ire­land Na­tional Series which was hosted by Cork BMX Club at their track at Tramore Val­ley Park in June.

And, above, an aerial view illustration of the over­all plans for the park.

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