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Scariff Community Council plan to light up the park

AMBITIOUS plans are in the pipeline to provide lighting at Scariff Riverside Park, in a three-part upgrade to the popular community amenity.

The park, at Fossa Beg on the Feakle Road, was developed by Scariff Community Council in 2005, and consists of a playground, six outdoor adult exercise stations, and one station which is dedicated to wheelchair users. One particularly popular amenity is a 1km looped walk through an area of natural biodiversity. The community council has worked to install an information board highlighting local flora and fauna and containing information on the historic Scariff Workhouse Water Tower.

In recent months, the council has secured funding of €25,000, with the support of Clare County Council, from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. A further €31,500 has been sourced from the LEADER programme. Those monies, in addition to online fundraising through Gofundme, have enabled phase one and two of the park upgrade project. These involve the improvement of paths and the laying of tarmac and concrete on surfaces which had previously been covered in gravel and prone to flooding. Under the upgrade plans, paths around the loop are also to be widened to 1.5m, allowing full wheelchair access, as well as social distancing. The aim of the upgrade is to allow for safe interaction in the park, while also allowing for increased participation for all ages and abilities.

Phase three of the upgrade works is the installation of lighting along the walk and in the carpark. Plans have been lodged in recent weeks with Clare County Council for 14 floodlights for the carpark and entrance areas, as well as 37 LED bollards of 1m in height which will be dotted around the looped walk.

Claire Henchy PRO of the community council recently told Scariff Bay Community Radio that the hope is to complete the full upgrade project by March, and that online fundraising is continuing.

“This is a community initiative, the park belongs to the people of the area and is managed by Scariff Community Council,” she noted. “Covid-19 has restricted our capacity to fundraise but the response to the Gofundme campaign has been huge and we’re so grateful to everyone who has donated to-date.”

In a letter to county planners, the community council states that it is a voluntary and non-profit making organisation, and that because the development of the floodlights is for community recreation purposes, the application is exempt from a fee.

The application is also accompanied by a letter from Muintir na Tíre confirming the affiliation of the community council as a development organisation, as well as its entitlement to use their charitable status in respect of the application.

The county council has indicated that a decision on the application is likely by February 17.

Donations to the park upgrade project can be made by searching for ‘Scariff Community Council’ on Gofundme.com. They can also be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to Scariff Community Council through their bank account: BIC: BOFIIE2D, IBAN: IE54 BOFI 9044 1327 6152 32.

About Fiona McGarry

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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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