It’s taken longer than planned, pedestrian and cycling access needs to be improved, but a vast new public park has been officially opened on the site of Cork City’s former dump.
Talks are under way with promoters in a bid to host summer concerts in Tramore Valley Park, possibly by next year.
The news emerged yesterday as lord mayor Mick Finn cut the ribbon to declare the city’s largest park open to the public from 8.30am seven days a week after a significant upgrade to its entrance and the addition of extra car parking spaces.
He said while some social media commentators would prefer the park to remain closed pending further access improvements, he expressed delight to finally hear the sound of children playing on a site where crows and seagulls once screeched over rubbish.
“It was a long and winding road to get it opened but it is a work in progress. I know that generations of Cork people will derive great enjoyment and health benefits in availing of the amenity,” he said.
He also named the 2.5km looped walkway within the park after world race-walking and Olympic champion, Rob Heffernan.
Mr Heffernan, who grew up on nearby Derrynane Rd, recalled how the earliest signs of his athletic ability became apparent when, as children, he and friends were chased by a local character, Charlie Bogman, who used to swim in ponds which ringed the former dump site.
Just 3km from the city centre, the 70-hectare park will open until 9pm in the summer. It features walkways and trails, an all-weather events and amenity area, a grass pitch, a BMX track of international standard, an outdoor gym, sports pavilion, a wetlands area, and a raised dome area which gives 360-degree panoramic views of the city.
City officials say they plan to increase the range of attractions, including the addition of a playground. The former Kinsale Rd landfill accepted almost 3m tonnes of waste from its opening in 1963 to its decommissioning in 2009.
The site underwent a €40m environmental remediation project which involved the capping of the entire site. However, access issues delayed its full opening as a park. City Hall says it has undertaken significant work in the last year to address many of those issues, including the reconfiguration of the entrance off the South Link Road, the provision of more than 400 carpark spaces, the installation of lighting, and the creation of a pedestrian and cyclist access track from the South Douglas Rd, through Willow Park.
The council said it is also looking for grant-aid opportunities to deliver the proposed €3m pedestrian and cycling link from Grange/Frankfield, over the South Ring Rd, into the park.