State of the art €2m Skatepark to open by spring 2020

By Maurice Garvey

IT IS not often that a community group brings an idea to their local authority and succeeds in securing a million euro project investment, but that is essentially what happened in relation to the new skatepark and playground at Le Fanu Park.

The project, reputed to cost in the region of up to €2m, is currently under construction and expected to open to the public in Spring 2020.

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Members of the Ballyfermot Youth Project with Cllr Vincent Jackson and Councillor Daithí de Roiste, turning the sod, on behalf of the Lord Mayor of Dublin

A number of years ago, Ballyfermot Youth Service made the case to Dublin City Council that they needed a skate and BMX facility.

Luckily for them, the law firm Matheson was looking to invest a sum of money into a community project, and they approached the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF).

In turn, the IAF approached a couple of local authorities, and with significant backing from Dublin City Council, the collaboration led to proposals for a brand new skatepark at Le Fanu Park – beside the leisure centre.

“It is important that the idea was organic and came from the community,” said Independent Councillor Vincent Jackson.

Speaking at a ‘ground-breaking ceremony’ for the project on Tuesday morning at Le Fanu Park, Cllr Jackson praised the participatory engagement between youths, community groups and stakeholders.

“In fairness, DCC didn’t need a lot of convincing. Over the coming months, this will give young people in Ballyfermot a huge resource. Today is a great day.”

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Le Fanu Park

Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation, said they have carried out other projects but “nothing as ambitious as this.”

She cited the public consultation conducted by IAF in Ballyfermot back in 2015, and it’s impact on the final design, as a rarity “that never happens” with projects of this scale.

Ms Weadick said: “This project is an example of how effective collaboration between local community groups, planning authorities and architects can have a positive impact on the built environment for those who matter the most – the local residents.”

An international competition was held to pick the winning architectural practice for the project, won by Relational Urbanism, based in London.

Irish company C&A Ltd was appointed contractor earlier this year, with UK-based skatepark specialist Freestyle also on board.

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