A NEW children’s playground and adult outdoor fitness area has opened in King’s Island and is designed to cater for all children and young people irrespective of ability.
The new playground, which is located close to the Community Centre and Crèche, cost just over €315,000 and was funded through the Regeneration Programme.
The project was a collaborative effort between Limerick City and County Council, the CWELL project based in St Mary’s Park and the entire St Mary’s Park community.
The project brief emerged from an extensive collaboration between Limerick City and County Council, CWELL and the local St. Mary’s community, which sought the provision of a play area for toddlers and young children and a range of outdoor fitness equipment catering for teens and adults.
A public consultation exercise carried out by CWELL found that a considerable number of respondents were interested in an integrated park of this nature and it’s hoped the Community Centre may eventually run outdoor ‘keep fit’ classes at the outdoor gym facility.
The brief also highlighted the need for the new district play area and park to cater for disabled users and those with mobility issues and that the facility should be defined by its inclusivity.
Welcoming the opening of the new play area Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “I’m delighted that this new facility has opened for the residents of St Mary’s Park and the wider King’s Island community. It is extremely important these types of facilities are provided in residential areas. It instils a sense of pride, belonging and ownership in the community. It will also help in improving the physical and mental wellbeing of all users of the equipment, be they children or adults.”
“This is the type of infrastructure we should all be looking for in our localities, and I’ve no doubt the local children and adults will benefit greatly from the playground and fitness equipment.”
Maria Donoghue, Head of the Limerick Regeneration Project with Limerick City and County Council said: “The new playground is a very positive and inclusive development for the community of Kings Island, and is an outcome of close collaboration between all parties and direct Limerick Regeneration investment. The children in the area will feel the positive impact of this facility for years. Quality design for sustainable communities is an objective of the Limerick Regeneration Programme, and this project is a good example of the considered and well-designed public space carried out by Sarah Newell and Kieran O’Gorman of Limerick City and County Council.”
Gerardine Quinlivan was one of the community representatives who worked on the project. She said: “The King’s Island Community is absolutely delighted with the playground and gym, which was designed by the community for the community. They attended public consultations, studied drawings, went on buses to see other playgrounds, answered doors when we knocked, filled in what may have seemed like endless questionnaires.”
“The idea came about for the playground and gym from a final year project for Samantha Roche and me as part of the University of Limerick CWELL programme. We would like to say a huge thank you for all the help and support we received over the past five years, especially in the initial stages, from the staff of Limerick City and County Council. And of course, for securing the vital funding to build such a wonderful amenity in our area.”
The design incorporates:
- Integrated Play Area with protective perimeter fence to cater for toddlers and juniors in the 0 to 10 years age range. The play equipment was selected to provide a range of play for children, regardless of physical or mental ability.
- A wheelchair accessible roundabout will have obvious benefits for children confined to wheelchairs and will also promote social interaction between children of all age ranges and abilities.
- The play area also includes nest swings, swings, see-saw, springer units, spinner unit and two multi-play units which are integrated into the landscape
- There are two picnic suites provided as well as a park bench and litter bin, site furniture and tree and shrub planting.
- Safety surfacing – a resin bound surface has been installed for additional safety
- Outdoor gym facility to cater for adults and older children includes a suspension trainer, rope bells and steps, which facilitate a range of training exercises.