The first phase of Cork’s new Marina Park - a strategic new 32-hectare eco-park in the city’s south docklands - will open before the end of the month.
Final snagging works are well underway to finish out the new parkland which has developed at the city end of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, featuring a central pavilion and walkways. Weather has delayed some of the work and time was also required to allow newly planted grass to establish itself.
But the council’s director of operations, David Joyce, said the snagging work is advancing well, and that the temporary fencing surrounding the park will come down soon to allow public access before the end of this month.
It will finally give people a chance to experience the parkland vision for this area of the city’s south docklands which has been on the agenda for well over a decade.
The Marina Park project has been blighted by delays. It was subject to public consultation in 2014, but its construction start date was delayed when issues emerged with the tender process and documents had to be reissued. The restrictions caused by the pandemic caused further delays last year.
However, locals have been sharing photographs of the near-complete park on social media in recent weeks, and wondering when they’ll be allowed in.
Colm O’Leary, of the Ballintemple and Area Residents Association, said people are looking forward to using the new amenity which has been designed to be accessed primarily by foot or by bike. But he said there are concerns that it could cause more parking problems in an area already blighted by illegal parking linked to matches at the GAA stadium.
“There is no deficit in parking in the area,” he said.
“We’ve written to the city council asking it to do much more around signage, to inform people about and direct them to the existing car parking spaces in the area.”
FG Cllr Des Cahill said he believes the new car park developed at the city end of the pedestrianised Marina should be adequate but that he has called for the addition of more disabled parking bays and bike racks in the area.
The 32-hectare Marina Park will extend from Monahan Road and Centre Park Road eastwards, to wrap around the GAA stadium and its all-weather pitch, to encompass a revamped Atlantic pond, and will extend all the way to Blackrock harbour.
The masterplan was prepared by leading European landscape architects and consultants, OKRA, in consultation with the city council’s parks department. They focused on accessibility, activity, ecology, biodiversity, nature conservation, culture and outdoor events.
Work is already underway on the design of phase two, along the Marina and east of Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue, to create a marshland, that will more than quadruple the size of the park.
City Hall has previously said that this phase will include the ‘nature’ zone of the park, accommodating picnic areas, boating facilities, adventure play areas, preserved marshland zone and several architectural heritage sites.
The overall design of the park has been integrated with the pedestrianised Marina and the upgraded Blackrock greenway, as well as with the proposed public transport upgrades proposed as part of the Monahan Road upgrade scheme.
Work on the greenway upgrade is progressing well with surfacing fully complete from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to Blackrock Station and from the St Michael’s Drive ramp to the N40.
Public lighting has been installed from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to Blackrock Station, and work has also started on building the new ramp from the greenway to the Marina. It requires staged construction to allow for settlement of the poor underlying ground.
Landscaping work including tree planting will begin early in the new year and the section of greenway between Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the N40 flyover, and all the associated access ramps, should be fully open by next summer.