RECREATIONAL and social sports in the city are expected to flourish as plans to equip basketball, volleyball and table tennis in several local parks have been revealed.
Limerick Sports Partnership (LSP) seeks to make Limerick the ultimate all-inclusive sports city with the intention of increasing casual outdoor pick-up games for all ages.
Details of the new equipment were revealed at the last Metropolitan Meeting, which will include a basketball hoop and table tennis facilities in Arthur’s Quay Park in the heart of Limerick City.
Phelim Macken, coordinator at LSP, said: “One of the activities that we found to be badly needed during Covid was the basketball courts and the ability to shoot hoops.”
Highlighting the lack of gyms available in the city centre, he said the aim of LSP-funded projects, implemented by the Council, is to keep people active outside of competitive sport.
“Evidence shows that structured sport is in some decline,” he said, pointing out that a regimented weekly structure is no longer suited to the way some young people now live their lives.
Some of the other athletic work across the city includes the installation of a basketball court and volleyball posts in O’ Brien’s Park as well as volleyball posts for People’s Park.
The ‘Boro’ field, adjacent to the AFC Janesboro fields, will receive a basketball half court and improvements are to be undertaken on the public football fields at Shelbourne Park.
Baggot Estate, labeled by Mr. Macken as one of our town’s recent “hidden gems”, will benefit from outdoor exercise stations as part of cutting trails as well as a natural children’s play area.
The crucial thing, he pointed out, is that the facilities are free. “It’s not about throwing a load of equipment, there has to be an element of purpose to what fits and how people use it,” he said.
Influences were drawn from travels with youth leaders in Madrid and Liverpool, the latter seen as the poster child for an inclusive active sports city, helping marginalized communities.
Mr Macken recalls seeing several rocks with climbing holds in parks across the Spanish capital, with no safety nets or signage. He described it as a “different mindset” from here in Ireland.
“We are very gripped by the insurance, the claims and the fear associated with it,” adding that there is a need for more free and accessible play here in Limerick.