THE proposed Mitchelstown Leisure Centre has received €120,000 in government funding - provided the longawaited project is built on the Canon's Field site in the centre of the town.
The development will come as a further blow to a group within the town, led by Tony Lewis of the Mitchelstown Forum Group, which has lobbied to have the centre developed as part of a sports and leisure complex on the Glanworth Road.
The Mitchelstown Leisure Group has been awarded €120,000 under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) 2012, which is turn is funded by the National Lottery. The grant was one of 615 approved out of over 2,100 applicants from across the country with a total of €26m granted in all.
While Ben Lynch, chairman of the Leisure Centre group, said they were "delighted" and described the funding as "great news for Mitchelstown," he confirmed that the funding is specifically for a development on the Canon's Field site near Tesco.
"The grant is specific to the Canon's Field. One of the key criteria of the SCP was that the applicant had to own its site and the only site we own is the Canon's Field," he told The Corkman.
"We put a lot of effort into this application and it's great that the Minister for Sport, Michael Ring TD, has acknowledged the value of the project to Mitchelstown in such a tangible way," he said.
"We are now more confident than ever that we will deliver a really fantastic facility for the people of Mitchelstown. This brings the available funding to €2.2m and we're not finished yet. We are quite confident of securing additional finance before the construction starts in early 2013"
Mr Lynch also thanked Tom Barry TD for his support and advice. "He backed us all the way. From our very first meeting he was fully behind us and made himself available whenever we needed assistance," he concluded.
Deputy Barry welcomed the Mitchelstown allocation, along with grants awarded to several other clubs across the region. "I'm particularly excited about the proposals of Mitchelstown Community Group, who will revolutionise community, sports and youth facilities in the town and wider area. Congratulations again to all involved and I look forward to seeing this funding turned into facilities for all to enjoy," Deputy Barry said.