The first phase of Cork’s newest park will be officially opened tomorrow by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, with the finished project forming a key part of the massive regeneration of the city’s dockland area.
When the second phase of the Marina Park project is completed, it will be the same size as Dublin Zoo, covering around 70 acres, meaning it will be six times larger than the city’s Fitzgerald Park.
Redevelopment officials expect it to act as a playground and biodiversity hub in the massive 146-hectare Docklands plan, which is the largest redevelopment scheme 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 for the future.
“The National Development Plan positions Cork as a major emerging city over the next 20 years, with the population expected to increase by up to 50%,” he said.
“The 70-acre Marina Park will be his playground and a haven of biodiversity.”
The official opening will be marked by an acrobatic, sporting, playful, musical and fun event for the whole family from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with DJ Stevie G as MC.
Cork GAA will also hold a minor Rebel Óg blitz on the all-weather 4G pitch ahead of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Mr Martin will plant a native Irish tree, the Wild Cherry, while pupils from Green School Committees at nearby Ballintemple National School, St Michael’s Church of Ireland National School and Scoil na Croise Naofa will also plant pollinating plants .
The first phase of the park’s development was funded by a €3.5 million grant from the Southern and Eastern Regional Operational Program of the European Regional Development Fund 2014-20 managed by the Southern Regional Assembly, while the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has also provided a grant of €2.5 million grant to the project.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher said: “There is so much to look forward to in this part of town. Once fully developed, Marina Park will be a new eco-regional park for the people of Cork and beyond. And the proposed development of linking active travel links from the town center along the Marina Promenade and east to Blackrock Castle and the Blackrock – Passage West Greenway presents an irresistible proposition for walkers, runners and cyclists.
Cork CE City Council, Ann Doherty said the 146 hectare docks will provide housing for over 20,000 and more than 25,000 jobs over the next 20 years with what she said will be the best in transport classrooms, public spaces, schools, medical and social services, restaurants, hotels and leisure facilities.
The second and final phase of the Marina Park project is due for public consultation later this summer and when completed will stretch from the Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue and include the ‘Nature’ area of the park , accommodating picnic areas, boating facilities, adventure playgrounds, a preserved marsh area and several architectural heritage sites.