AN estimated €1 million is expected to be spent on the provision of a proposed new off-street car park in Ennis’ town centre, it has been revealed.
Full details have yet to be released, however Ennis Town Council have confirmed that the council proposes to acquire additional land in the county capital for the car park.
According to Ger Dollard, Ennis town manager, “The council proposes to acquire additional land for off-street car parking in the town centre area and the estimated costs of acquisition and development of this land are of the order of €1 million. A report will be presented to council when contracts have been signed for the purchase of the site.”
In relation to the future of parking improvements for the town, Mr Dollard added, “The council will continue to improve and enhance car parking facilities throughout the town. These improvements will include new parking provisions, upgrading existing car parks and associated equipment and capital investment in improving car parking payment methods.”
Mr Dollard recalled that the council has implemented a number of initiatives on the parking front in 2013 towards attracting retail activity to the town. This included the Christmas parking incentive together with free parking after 5pm to support the Fabulous Friday initiative by the Ennis business community.
The council also progressed more modern methods of pay for parking including the Park Magic payment initiative which has been strongly promoted by the local authority. He also described the opening of the new coach park as a “very positive addition” to the town.
The plans for the new car park were revealed as Mr Dollard outlined details of capital projects for the town over the next three years at a meeting of councillors.
While the town council is set be abolished in June of this year, under Section 135 of the Local Government Act 2001 there is a requirement to present a three year rolling capital programme to the council.
Implementation of the capital programme may fall to Clare County Council and the new Ennis Municipal District structure following the implementation of the Local Government Act 2013.
Among the future capital project proposals for consideration by the council is the development of Tim Smythe Park. However, funding sources are needed in order for the plan to proceed.
Last month the council was notified of a grant allocation of €58,824 towards the provision of changing rooms, showers and toilet facilities, while the overall cost of the project is €400,000.
Now known as the Active Ennis Tim Smythe Park, following an amalgamation of all leisure and sporting facilities in the town, the venue successfully hosted the Clare hurlers’ homecoming event with 30,000 people in attendance.
According to Mr Dollard, “It is hoped to continue using Active Tim Smythe Park as the go-to place for large and unique events in the future.”
Members of Ennis Town Council at their recent budget meeting gave their backing to the redevelopment of the market at Garraunakilla as their priority “legacy” capital project.
A Part VIII planning process for phase one of the market redevelopment will be concluded this month. The initial cost estimate would suggest an overall cost of €1.5m with Mr Dollard stating that “funding sources for this development will have to be identified in order for it to proceed.”