Frustration over lack of progress on proposed Mayo tartan track and playing pitches

A Mayo TD has outlined his frustration with the lack of progress in the delivery of phase two of the Lough Lannagh project in Castlebar which includes a plan for a multi-lane tartan running track and multi-sport playing fields along with ancillary facilities.

The state-of-the-art facilities will build on the success of Castlebar Swimming Pool, Lough Lannagh Holiday Village and surrounding walks, Deputy Alan Dillon stated.

He elaborated: “This project needs to be prioritised by Mayo County Council and the local authority should progress the publication of a masterplan for the development of an integrated multi-sport campus.

"The Mayo Multi-Sport Outdoor Pursuits and Sports Tourism Hub will provide for the needs of various organisations across the entire site and should be tracked with quarterly progress reports.

"This has the potential to be a leading campus which will complement the existing Lough Lannagh Sports Hub and significantly add to the third level infrastructure for the future Technological University to be located at GMIT Mayo.

“In 2019, a large-scale sports infrastructure grant application was submitted by Mayo County Council for the Mayo Multisport Outdoor Adventure and Sports Tourism Hub.

"This incorporated phase two of the what was also known as the National Outdoor Pursuit Academy, but a portion of land must be transferred for this project to proceed.

“It is my understanding that the agreed transfer of the lands at the five-acre Knockaphunta site from the HSE to the local authority is nearing completion.

"Access to the land would enable Mayo County Council to develop a detailed masterplan, including the many iterations of the plans so far and give due account to a post-COVID environment for project development.

"This will help support the funding model and context leading to a specific action plan to unlock the value of the site.

“The running track and multi-sport facilities has potential usage to attract up to 1,700 visitors per week or almost 90,000 visits per year.

"These figures are based on a detailed submission made as part of a large-scale Sports Infrastructure grant application.

"Users of these facilities would come from a wide section of the western region and beyond.

"Potential visitors including athletic clubs, running groups, primary and post-primary schools, GMIT, other sports clubs, disabled and Paralympic groups, employer events, competition and sports tourism visitors.

"It would attract many competitors to Mayo and also sports tourism visitors as athletics is the foundation of all sports.

"A fully developed running track and associated facilities would be a huge addition to the sporting infrastructure of Castlebar and its environs.

"This project would enhance Mayo’s status as a major sports hub in the west of Ireland.

"This brings with it all the resulting spin-off benefits in economic, social and community health. It also has the potential to contribute to the health and well-being of many in the community, both the young and not so young.”

“In order for Castlebar to become a sporting centre of excellence and adventure sports tourism hub for the west, progressing phase two of this project is vital.

"I am genuinely determined to work closely with the relevant stakeholders in Mayo County Council, GMIT, local sporting organisations and any relevant government departments.

"By all of these stakeholders working together in a concerted effort, this will ensure that strong funding applications are in place to secure the funds to ensure this project proceeds.”

Deputy Dillon added: “I feel in a post-Covid environment, economic conditions are likely to dictate that need for civic and sporting projects that are economically feasible which will have immediate social, health and economic benefits for the community.

"Thankfully in recent weeks, I can confirm that a funding application was submitted by Mayo County Council to furnish the adjacent building next to Castlebar Swimming Pool.

"This will allow for the development of a climbing wall at the centre under the 2021 Regional Sports Capital and Equipment Programme in collaboration with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

"I hope for news on this funding application in the next two months.”

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