Midleton My Place Ltd acquired the town’s former fire station at Mill Rd, but the full conversion cost must be guaranteed before vital funding can be drawn down.
The town council had purchased the site for €200,000 last year and will charge the firm a nominal rent.
Following a tendering process, a contractor was appointed and an estimated €570,000 for construction, plus €30,000 for fitting out is required.
The plans outline a youth café/drop-in centre with recreation area, music room, arts space, and counselling room. A separate section will provide wider community facilities for leisure, cultural, sporting, and social events and meeting rooms.
Midleton Town Council pledged a further €70,000, while South and East Cork Area Development committed €330,000, subject to the company meeting the required €200,000 before May’s deadline.
Their efforts received a recent boost with a €10,000 donation from the Midleton Community and Recreational Centre Development Company. The money came from rents paid by the Gaelscoil, who rent almost an entire building from this long-established association.
Unfortunately, the clock is ticking at a faster rate than the money is coming in.
My Place Ltd chairman Denis Ring says a house-to-house fundraising campaign has indicated “immense goodwill” towards the project and, with contributions still being collected, may reduce the shortfall to “somewhere over €100,000”. Donations can also be deposited in a box at Midleton Credit Union.
Mr Ring conceded the challenge to turn goodwill into funds was “proving very tough”.
He said: “We could perhaps borrow money but we’re not in a position to make personal guarantees. We are also pursuing big corporate bodies but they move slowly due to budget structures and such.”
My Place Ltd director, TD David Stanton, said Midleton is the only major town in the region without such a facility. “The need for it is huge. It simply must happen. I believe it will do so and be of immense benefit to the community.”