CONSTRUCTION work will commence shortly on the long-awaited community athletics microtrack on the grounds of St Brendan’s College which will represent the culmination of a long-time dream for those leading the project.
Contracts have been signed and the first sod has been turned much to the delight of the South and East Kerry Community Rural Track Ltd project committee, spearheaded by Killarney Valley AC.
The track comes with a total price tag of €480,000 of which €110,000 was provided in LEADER funding, a further €59,000 was allocated under the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s capital works programme while Kerry County Council contributed €50,000 via the community support fund. Over €110,000 had already been raised through various fundraising events. The promoters of the project also launched a fundraising initiative and they have taken out a loan, facilitated by Clan Credo, to meet the deficit.
The track, located on a site provided on lease by the Bishop of Kerry and St Brendan’s Trust, has received full planning permission and it will include an all-weather pitch, a running track, basketball court, high jump area, long jump runway and a shot putt area as well as floodlights, parking and all ancillary services.
In attendance at the contact signing were the project committee, long-time track supporter Cllr Niall Kelleher, who is chairman of the Local Action Group which administers LEADER funding, Sean de Buitlear of the South Kerry Development Partnership and Mayor of Killarney Cllr John Sheahan.
Cllr Kelleher told the gathering that he honored to be a part of the project which, he said, will be “a massive benefit” to all in the community and especially young people.
Several sporting and social events were held to raise funds for the track, including the Killarney 10 Mile road race, a run, walk and roll 5k, a schools’ fitness challenge, a minion mania world record attempt and a Killarney Rotary Club wine and art night.
“We hope to reduce and even eliminate the loan with help of the community as the track will benefit all. We have already set up an online link to achieve donations and we are delighted to announce that Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has nominated the project to be one of the two to benefit from their new fundraising raffle for a vintage tractor,” said microtrack committee spokesman Jerry Griffin.
Community nurse Catriona Shanahan recently took part in the London Marathon and raised over €500 for the cause and has urged others to undertake similar initiatives to assist the group.
The proximity of the track to the local schools and the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club is seen as a major bonus and the construction is due to commence on June 24 with an expected completion time towards the end of August.
To donate to the project go to www.gofundme.com/Killarney-micro-track.
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