Phase one of Cork's newest park will be officially opened tomorrow by Taoiseach, Micheál Martin — with the finished project forming a key part of the massive regeneration of the city's docklands area.
When phase two of the Marina Park project is completed it will be the same size as Dublin Zoo, covering some 70 acres— meaning it will be six times the size of Fitzgerald's Park in the city.
Those behind the redevelopment expect it to act as a playground and biodiversity hub in the huge 146-hectare Docklands plan, which is the largest redevelopment programme in the country.
The Taoiseach will preside over the opening of the first phase of the project at 11am on Sunday. He said the "world-class facility" in the heart of Cork city demonstrates the Government’s commitment to creating sustainable communities into the future.
“The National Development Plan positions Cork as an emerging city of scale over the next 20 years with the population set to increase by up to 50%," he said.
"The 70 acre Marina Park will be its playground and a haven for biodiversity.”
The official opening will be marked by an event taking in acrobatics, sport, play, music and fun for all the family from 10am-1pm with DJ Stevie G acting as MC.
Cork GAA will also run a Rebel Óg underage blitz at the 4G all-weather pitch in front of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Mr Martin will plant an Irish native tree, the wild cherry while pupils from the Green School Committees in nearby Ballintemple National School, St Michael’s Church of Ireland National School and Scoil na Croise Naofa will also plant pollinator plants.
Phase One of the park development was funded with a €3.5m grant from the European Regional Development Fund’s Southern and Eastern Regional Operational Programme 2014-20 managed by the Southern Regional Assembly, while the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government also awarded a €2.5m grant to the project.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher said: “There is so much to look forward to in this part of the city. When fully developed, Marina Park will be a new eco-regional park for the people of Cork and beyond. And the proposed development of connecting active travel links from the city centre along the Marina Promenade and eastwards to Blackrock Castle and the Blackrock — Passage West Greenway presents an irresistible proposition for walkers, runners and cyclists."
Cork City Council CE, Ann Doherty said the 146 hectare docklands will provide homes for over 20,000 and more than 25,000 jobs over the next 20 years with, what she said will be best in class transportation, public spaces, schools, medical and social services, restaurants, hotels and recreation facilities.
The second and final phase of the Marina Park project is due to go to public consultation later this summer and once completed will extend from The Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue and will include the "Nature" zone of the park, accommodating picnic areas, boating facilities, adventure play areas, preserved marshland zone and several architectural heritage sites.