CITY Hall is hoping to mimic the success of groups like the Douglas Street Traders’ Association and Mad About Cork by creating community spaces throughout the city.
Ann Doherty, chief executive of Cork City Council, pointed to the huge successes of pocket parks on Douglas Street and the Marina this year, as proof that such works can have a big impact on communities.
For the last two years, the Douglas Street Traders’ Association have held summer parties on the street, closing it off to traffic and bringing businesses, food, and community groups onto the street to create a festive atmosphere.
In October, City Hall closed off the Marina to traffic on four Sundays to encourage walking, cycling, and running. People called for it to be done permanently.
Ms Doherty said that such initiatives are essential in creating a living city.
“Douglas Street created a fantastic pocket park and made great use of nearby spaces, like the Red Abbey, for the Christmas crib and markets,” she said.
“We saw great success at the Marina, too. The creation of pocket parks is something we are really passionate about, but it is a challenge.
“We are getting very tight on space and real estate is becoming more valuable and, therefore, harder to get and make available for public space.”
She paid tribute to groups like Mad About Cork and the Douglas Street Traders, whose presence can be felt throughout the city.
“Looking at what Douglas Street achieved in a small time; it is very impressive. That wasn’t Cork City Council: that was all grassroots.
Citizens engaging with each other, businesses and us — and that is what we need to do throughout the city,” she said. “We don’t have good play space. We can look at providing this in new developments, but the question for us is how to achieve that in the older fabric of the city. It is a challenge, but it is one that we have to keep working on.”