A PROPOSAL to develop a multi-purpose community sports and recreational facility enabling water and land sports, recreational, educational and training activities in Athy got one step closer to realization last week than State Secretary for Sport and Gaeltacht Jack Chambers visited the city to present the strategic plan for the project.
County Kildare LEADER partnership, in association with Kildare Sports Partnership, commissioned the development of a strategic plan she has demonstrated a clear need for the development of the Shackleton Outdoor Recreation Center and underscored the implications of such development for participation in sports, tourism, the economy and the economy.
The proposed location is the former Dominican Lands site, which is located in green field in Athy near the intersection of the Grand Canal and the River Barrow. The location of the C.entre is significant given the development of the ‘Barrow Blueway’ which will begin and end in Athy. The vision for this project is to develop an outdoor leisure center that incorporates the spirit of adventure, courage and leadership of Shackleton to enhance the range of sports and physical activity, community and social development in Athy.
The concept for the Shackleton Outdoor Recreation Center has developed over several years and is inextricably linked with the Athy Community Sports Hub (ACSH) of the Kildare Sports Partnership, a project founded by KSP in 2018. The success of the Athy Community Sports Hub since its inception in 2018 is evidenced by a growth in water sports and leisure activities in Athy. However, the ACSH is the only water-based facility in Athy and has limited capacity to do more, and clubs have highlighted waiting lists for members as the demand for water-based activities outweighs existing access to facilities. The aim of the hub is to provide support and advice on a wide range of sports and exercise to make it easier for people to get started and lead a more active and healthier lifestyle.
As part of the strategic plan, a needs analysis was carried out through consultation with a variety of sports, community and legal institutions to determine the limits of the existing supply and to quantify the need and demand for additional facilities and infrastructures.
Speak when presenting the plan Jack Chambers, Chief Whip and Secretary of State for Sport & Gaeltacht called: “There is a real drive and focus on increasing participation through this project in the Kildare Sport Partnership, which is exactly what we need to see as we try to increase the number of people involved in sports across the country.
“Hubs like these are invaluable as they provide vital information, support, and advice on a variety of sports and physical activities to make it easier for people across Kildare to get involved and lead more active and healthier lifestyles. Since the pandemic, people have come to appreciate the benefits of being outdoors much more, as well as the positive health and mental wellbeing effects that come with being physically active. “
Cllr Ivan Keatley, Cathaoirleach Athy Borough called: “Establishing a plan for establishing a facility to enable water and land sports, facilitate and increase local participation, and also provide additional attraction for Blueway users will be invaluable to South Kildare. I look forward to working with my fellow councilors and the Kildare Sports Partnership to make this a reality. “
Karl Duffy, Rural Development Manager at County Kildare LEADER Partnership said they are excited to fund the study and plan. “The Shackleton Center will be a resource for the physical and mental health of all members of the community, and these have been at the fore of all our thoughts since the pandemic. However, it will also be tied to the tourist and economic rewards that the development of the Blueway will bring to the county, and along with the Barrow Blueway Economic Plan that we funded earlier this year, provides a blueprint for this incredible and successful development Underutilization of resources in the district “
Syl Merrins – Kildare Sports Partnership Coordinator they said The development of the proposed facility will not only have an impact on sports and physical activity, but also have a positive impact on tourism and the economy in the area.