Fears for future of park after council is gone

FEARS are growing for the future of one of the town's greatest assets ahead of the dissolution of the town council later this year.

FEARS are growing for the future of one of the town's greatest assets ahead of the dissolution of the town council later this year.

It's an impressive amenity by the standards of any Irish town, but it is feared that once Listowel Town Council is dissolved in May the town park will no longer receive the same level of care as it currently enjoys.

Thousands pass through the gates of the park each year to use the facilities and clubs it plays host to, including Listowel Community Centre, Listowel Pitch and Putt Club, Listowel Rugby Club, the new playground, the park's circular track, the Garden of Europe and more.

Community Centre manager Tony Duggan said he is concerned over the future of the park. It had some 40,000 individual visits last year, which gives some indication of how important the facility is to the town.

"Listowel Town Council are doing a wonderful job and we have built-up a fantastic relationship with them over the years.

"They're on hand to fix anything that might go wrong, they're even working on fallen trees right now. Obviously we are deeply concerned this level of service could be lost now, just as happened with the centralising of many banking services to Dublin.

"The playground is immensely popular with families. What, for instance, will happen now if we discover broken glass there some morning? Who will we call?"

Local Fine Gael Councillor Mike Kennelly has raised his fears over the park's future with Listowel Town Council on a number of occasions.

"In three weeks' time the pathway around the park will be completely lit up with specially-installed lights by the town council. What will happen when these break, for instance, after the town council is gone?" Cllr Kennelly asked.

He described the park as a priceless asset for Listowel and said he is worried it could deteriorate after the council is abolished. After the May local elections the park will come under the remit of Kerry County Council but as the council's Tralee headquarters are seen as being far removed from Listowel, it's feared Listowel Town Park might get neglected. That concern also applies to the town in general.

"Trees came down in the storms in the park, but the town council was on hand to take them down and make it safe immediately. There are thousands of people using the park, from the Community Centre to the Pitch and Putt and the Rugby Club, not to mention the hundreds who run and walk it every week. We cannot afford to see our beautiful park slide, not after putting so much into it," Cllr Kennelly said.

He is now calling for the appointment of a special body of town park interests who would liase on a continual basis with Kerry County Council.


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