A theatre gutted by fire is a step closer to reopening with Cork County Council seeking expressions of interest in the refurbishment of an arts centre building.
The Briary Gap in Macroom was extensively damaged in a blaze in May last year, having reopened following a refurbishment in 2013.
The popular venue hosted the town’s library and theatre which held annual musicals, pantos and other cultural events throughout the year.
Last May, the council included the refurbishment of the theatre in its ambitious €517m capital spending plan. It has also received €250,000 from the Government’s arts and culture capital scheme.
The council has now published a tender for the “appointment of single service provider (engineering design team with specialist skills) for Briary Gap.
“Theatre building post fire redesign and refurbishment works”. The deadline for expression of interest in the project is October 2.
Macroom-based Fine Gael county councillors Michael Creed and Ted Lucey welcomed the proposed move.
Mr Lucey said he had regularly sought updates on the refurbishment.
“I’ve often said the Briery Gap is the heartbeat of the town, it has been badly missed and I hope we have it back in the near future,” he said.
Mr Creed, meanwhile, said while some events have been hosted in the Riverside Park Hotel, the absence of the Briary Gap has been a “big loss to the town”.
“Architects have examined it and my understanding is it will be a huge redesign job, as parts of the building were outdated.
“I’m delighted it has gone out to tender, it took a bit of time but the county council and its town hall officials in Macroom did a huge amount of work to get things up and running,” he said.
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