Killeedy Eco Park was created on the site of the Kantoher Poultry plant which closed in 2005.
Killeedy Eco Park breathes life into the local community
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Ann Mc Donald
Located in Gurteen, Country Limerick, Killeedy Eco Park is a unique park for many reasons. It is a testament to strength, a can-do attitude, and to hope.
It was created when the nearby Kantoher Poultry plant closed in 2005, with hundreds losing their jobs in Killeedy and in neighbouring parishes.
From this, the Kantoher Development Group (KDG) was founded, as well as a regeneration plan for Killeedy, Ashford and Raheenagh.
The main aim of the regeneration plan was to encourage enterprise and sustainable jobs, however providing the infrastructure needed had to come first. One of the main pieces of infrastructure identified was a sewerage treatment plant to service the Kantoher Business Park, which the plan also envisioned.
The solution to this was to develop an innovative and eco-friendly reed-bed plant in the old ponds once used by the poultry plant.
The reed-bed solved a problem in terms of tackling the sewerage infrastructure in the park in a way that is sustainable but also has a low environmental impact. The project also revitalised an existing derelict eyesore.
According to Joe Kelleher, Secretary of KDG, “the reed-beds are fully operational. The site now includes a series of walking trails, an amphitheatre, a wildlife reserve and an extensive planting scheme.
Every Saturday, a group of over 30 volunteers arrive at the park to carry out maintenance. There has also been great interest in the raised vegetable beds from the community.
Covid-19 proved to be beneficial for the eco-park, as it gave people a place to go and meet people safely, becoming a hive of activity.
The park welcomed a bridge last year, which was built to mark the link between the work of the former employees at the plant to the new generation of Killeedy people who continue to grow and benefit from the upgraded facility.
The next step for the park will involve linking the two villages to the sewerage treatment plant, which is crucial as it will allow the opportunity for new houses to be built in Raheenagh and Ashford.”
The eco-park will be the holding of outdoor concerts and other forms of live entertainment in the amphitheatre. It will also provide the ideal location for nature classes and for foraging adventures and orienteering fun for children.
Later this year, they hope to have a footpath linking the eco-park to Raheenagh village ready for use. In the near future, the eco-park will be connected up with the Ashford/Broadford Walking Trails, via a walk through the fields and along the banks of the Banoke river.
The goal for the park is to link up with the Limerick Greenway at Barnagh, paving the way for off-road walking and cycling all the way to Feenit.
Killeedy Eco Park is breathing life into the local community and is a testament to what a community can achieve together. Congrats to all involved!
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