A New Community Park for Inner City Dublin

Plans are afoot to turn a derelict site on Bridgefoot Street into a local park.

The Area Committee of Dublin South Central voted for a proposal to transfer the site at Bridgefoot Street to the Parks Department of Dublin City Council.

The proposal had a broad range of support from Dublin City councilors and was passed at a 3pm meeting on Wednesday, 15th February. The site will now be transformed into a park and recreational area.

Prior to this, Dublin City Council had decided to pass the motion and Bridgefoot Street Park site has now been rezoned from mixed use to recreational and green space use, allowing for a park and other recreational centres to be considered for the site.

This didn’t come without pressure from community groups with a silent protest held outside City Hall on the day DCC passed that motion.

Proposed plan for the park

It is a significant milestone and victory for the Oliver Bond residents, who have campaigned tirelessly for the best part of a decade for this outcome.

Bridgefoot Park posted the news to their followers on Facebook. “This [the passing of the proposal] is significant as the green light can now be given for the development of a public park at the site. A massive win – this is what people power and an organised community looks like!”

From Wasteland to Grassland

Dublin City Council currently controls the 2.5 acre piece of land. Apartments from the 1960s had inhabited the area until their demolition in 2003. A private company had planned to build 200 apartments. However, the economic crisis put pay to this plan and the site has been left as an open scar for residents to deal with ever since.

 

Locals feel that they have been completely forgotten by local authorities with 14 years of setbacks and cancellations  leaving them feeling somewhat disillusioned

Former Green Party TD, Ciarán Cuffe had reflected a similar sentiment about urban areas in The Village Magazine. “Perhaps local councils, the Office of Public Works and indeed, crucially, Nama are not protecting and enhancing public spaces with the zeal and imagination necessary if they are to become engines for a transformation in our quality of life.”

With locals feeling little was being done, they took matters into their hands and got green fingered. The site became a community garden for a time with residents growing their own fruit, vegetables and even tending to egg-laying hens. Many volunteered in a variety of roles such as gardeners, horticulturalists, community leaders and chefs. The area has also acted as a playground and recreational centre for kids and adolescents. This had helped curb vandalism in the area.

A pop up park event in April 2016 run by UCD students and lecturers, plus members of the campaign team and others, allowed people to talk about their hopes for a new park. Yesterday’s decision moved those hopes closer to becoming a reality.

Bridgefoot’s Next Step

Previously, People Before Profit Councillor Tina MacVeigh, who has continually advocated the use of a site as a green area, was quoted as saying, “we need to have a city and a neighbourhood that people want to live in, that communities can develop in. An integral element to that is green space and places for children to come out and play.”

After the passing of the proposal, she felt the community should feel vindicated and justified in their constant battle to take back control of their surrounding areas noting how they, “united and mobilised to make Bridgefoot Park a reality and never let go of that vision.”

While Councillor MacVeigh recognised that consultation with the council has been beneficial and promising for future developments, she was quick to point out that more needs to be done. The Liberties still remains 65% lower than the city average for green spaces even with Bridgefoot Park. It also held the infamous honour of being one of Dublin’s ugliest areas in 2016.

Community consultation will now be sought on how best to use the area.

Click here to check out the Bridgefoot Park websiteClick here to find out more on Dublin city’s development plan

 

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