Killarney's 'micro' project on track

Sinead Kelleher

It has been along awaited dream but now the planners and supporters of the planned Killarney micro-track can stand proud as their dream is set to become  a reality.

On Monday night the group  came together to sign the contract for the development to be  constructed and to turn the sod on the new infrastructural project. It is hoped to start work on June 24 and to have the project completed by the end of the summer. 

"The contract signing is the culmination of many years of hard work,by the dedicated community group in Killarney," said project co-ordinator, Jerh Griffin. 

"The effect of the hard work by all initiated a congratulatory round of applause, from Jean Courtney of Killarney Valley AC and committee member of the community group."

The group, together with Cllr Niall Kelleher as chairman of the (LAG) board and assisted by Sean de Buitlear of South Kerry Development Partnership, officiated at the gathering which took place in St Brendan's College in Killarney - the location of the planned micro-track. 

Cllr Kelleher said the hard work is now seeing it's just rewards and he is honoured to be a part of the project which, he says, will be a massive benefit to all within the community and especially the young. The sod turning ceremony was a matter of great pride for the members of the group,who represent such a diverse range of groups from within Killarney life.

The Mayor of the Killarney municipal district area Cllr John Sheahan praised the work and said that the jigsaw had finally come together. 

The project will cost in the region of €480,000 and €110,000 of leader funding forms a major part of the project cost. Minister Brendan Griffin has allocated €59,000 from the sports capital grant and Kerry County Council has also provided €50,000 in funding to the project. 

The group has privately raised €110,000 through events and from some donations from businesses to drive the project to date.

Many fun, sporting and social events were held over the last few years to raise funds, including the Killarney 10 mile road race; the run, walk and roll 5k; the AIB schools fitness challenge; the Minion Mania World Record attempt at the INEC, and the Rotary Club Wine and Art night. The group has a balance of funds to be raised and they need the help of the community to do this. 

The group has already set up an online link on Go Fund Me and are delighted to announce that Killarney Valley Vintage Club has nominated the project to be one of the two groups to benefit from their new fundraiser raffle for a vintage tractor.

Recently, community nurse Catriona Shanahan took part in the London marathon and raised over €500 for the project. 

"We are now looking forward to the construction commencement on June 24 with an expected completion towards the end of August. The astro turf pitch in the centre of the athletics track will be available to sports clubs and community groups. The athletics track likewise and together with the pitch will help to ensure it's sustainability into the future," said Mr Griffin.