ALL facilities at Shannon Leisure Centre will be free on its reopening day on Saturday, July 3.
The event was discussed at the June meeting of Shannon Town Council and Councillor Patricia McCarthy, who is on the Leisure Centre board, spoke of the need for Shannon to “take ownership” of the new facility.
By that stage, it will have been closed for around 18 months, following a number of difficulties surrounding the redevelopment but according to Ms McCarthy, everything is ready for the reopening.
“It’s bang on target for July 3. There’s just a bit of tidying up to be done now. It’s really just finished,” she said.
Councillor McCarthy said that the revamped facility will be state-of-the-art and that people will notice the difference as soon as they step through the door. “People arriving will be walking into a brand-new reception area. There is a new gym upstairs and meeting rooms available. The pool has been retiled and there will be a revamped steam and sauna room. The viewing area has also been upgraded and there will be a café area there, so people will be able to sit down. We’ll be looking to encourage young people to come in and use it.”
She said that the moulded shapes for the new skate park will be put in place in the near future, while the tennis courts are ready but the nets haven’t yet been put up.
While the facility hasn’t reopened yet, she said there has been an awful lot of interest in what will be offered. “Swimming lessons have already been booked out and summer camps are also filling up, a lot of deposits have been taken. There is a lot of interest and when people saw the tennis courts being developed they saw that things were happening.”
When open, she said that there will be more people employed than before the closure. “Extra people are being taken on because there are extra facilities there and there’s a greater requirement. Recruitment was going on for some time and there was a very good response.”
She said that while it had originally been thought that the project would cost €1.4 million, the final cost was likely to be slightly over budget.
While initially the project was to be completed within 20 weeks, it was delayed greatly following a dispute with the contractor. This led to public frustration, which saw a Facebook campaign organised and a public protest outside a meeting of Shannon Town Council.
Mayor of Shannon Seán McLoughlin said that he was looking forward to the reopening. “It’s going to be a fantastic facility and it’s great that it’s about to reopen. Hopefully, it will be used fully by the community. In this day and age it’s important that we all look after our health and fitness and I hope to become a member there.”