On Tuesday the 6th of June, in front of a big crowd bathed in sunshine, the Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick officially opened the much anticipated new playground in Freshford Village. In attendance to mark this new addition to the amenity offering of Freshford were Elected Members of Kilkenny County Council, Oireachtas Members, Minister for State, Deputy Malcom Noonan, Deputies John McGuinness and Kathleen Function and members of the local community, including many excited children from the nearby St. Lachtain’s National School.
The completed project, located beside St. Lachtain’s GAA Club and National School, sees an investment of over €240,000 into Freshford village, made up of a combination of funding streams including Town & Village Renewal, from the Department of Rural & Community Development, the Council’s Community & Cultural Facilities Capital Scheme, the Council’s own funds and funds collected locally by the Freshford Playground Committee.
Speaking at the event, the Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick noted “Projects like this really show what can be achieved with good collaboration between communities and Council where there is the desire to deliver for a community. Since Covid we are all more appreciative of the value of our open spaces and we as Elected Representatives will continue to support investment in new and improved facilities for high quality outdoor amenity spaces, like this. In congratulating everybody involved he added they should all be very proud of the finished result which will bring so much enjoyment to so many people for many years to come.”
The new Playground extends to just under one acre and includes a zip-wire, swings, slides, play tower, basket swing and woodland play equipment along with a new access road and carparking area to service the amenity. The site also caters for a new wildflower meadow and additional tree planting all of which will help to combat the decline of our pollinators.
Frank Stafford, A / Senior Engineer, from the Project Office and Parks Section of Kilkenny County Council acknowledged the high-quality design and work undertaken by council staff and contractors and the positive contribution of the local Elected Members, the Freshford Playground Committee and St. Lachtian’s GAA in making this project a reality. He noted that this playground represents the thirty-second playground delivered by Kilkenny County Council or by local communities supported by the Council across the county.
Also speaking on the day, Cllr. Mary Hilda Cavanagh, Chairperson of the Castlecomer Municipal District, noted “The importance of amenity and outdoor spaces such as this cannot be underestimated. It provides so many benefits for children from outdoor physical exercise, interaction with peers along with aiding physical and mental development, Noting it of course also creates a much needed alternative to screen time which younger generations are so exposed too. Adding that she had no doubt the playground will be a very busy spot with the younger generation over the summer months and indeed when school returns in September.”
Local lady, Mary McGree, from the Freshford Playground Committee also spoke on the day and expressed her thanks to Council staff, Elected Members and her own committee members for all the work involved in delivering the playground.
Before the ribbon was cut by the Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Pat Fitzpatrick, the new amenity was blessed by Parish Priest. Monsignor Kieron Kennedy.