Friday 24 August 2007

€18m public park will have green credentials

PLANS for a major new public park in the capital have been unveiled.

The €18m 'avant garde' Fr Collins' Park in Donaghmede will be among the most environmentally-sound public parks ever built here, with wind turbines used to generate power for street lighting and reed beds used to recycle and clean water for its lake.

Dublin City Council has also announced a massive redevelopment of the Northside Shopping Centre to include 1,400 new homes. The existing Cromcastle flat complexes will be demolished to make way for the new houses and apartments, while the Coolock shopping centre will be re-located to a new site. The ambitious plans form part of an Urban Village renewal programme in the area. The council has entered into a public private partnership with Headland Property Holdings which will build the new shopping centre and provide a public swimming pool, leisure centre and 1,400 new homes, of which 30pc will be earmarked for social and affordable housing.

Construction work is due to begin late next year, and the first phase will deliver 45,000 square metres of retail space, a medical centre, 953 new homes -- of which 283 will be for social and affordable housing -- and two creches. The second phase, which should be complete by 2013, will see a new main street, cinema, offices and 450 new homes, of which 360 will be private units.

Although no costs were outlined yesterday, the council expects 'hundreds of millions of euro' to be invested.

"We are actively working to create strong and vibrant communities and villages that we can all be very proud of in our growing city," Dublin Lord Mayor Paddy Bourke said yesterday. "Already villages such as Irishtown and Ballyfermot have benefited from urban village renewal, and Dublin City Council will continue its programme of schemes in the coming years."

Parks Superintendent Gerry Barry said the 55-acre Fr Collins' Park would be the last major public park to be built by the council as land was becoming increasingly scarce in the city.

Designed by Argentinian firm Romero Architects, it will be complete by 2009 and include five playing pitches, cycle and running paths, three play areas for children of different ages, picnic areas and a lake and promenade.

Irish Independent

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