THE first phase of the planned new Marina Park will open to the public in January 2019.
Demolition work begins today on the site of the former Munster Showgrounds to make way for the planned new amenity that will be five times larger than Fitzgerald's Park.
The Marina Park will surround the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium and all-weather pitch stretching from Monahan and Centre Park roads towards Blackrock village.
The first phase of the new park will cost €7m cover the area west of the stadium between Monahan Road and the Atlantic Pond.
As construction work on Páirc Uí Chaoimh nears completion demolition work of the old Showgrounds structures will now take place.
The Phase one park plans will go out to tender in the second half of the year and construction work is due to begin in early 2018 with an expected opening date of January 2019.
The heart of Marina Park will be the site of the central hall area of the former Munster Showgrounds. The aim is to retain a portion of the central hall and use it as a pavilion. It will include a covered playground, event space and food/drinks outlet.
Subsequent phases will include areas around the Atlantic Pond and areas towards Blackrock Village.
Once complete, Marina Park will cover 32 hectares, approximately five times the size of Fitzgerald’s Park.
Liam Casey, Cork's Parks Superintendent said Marina Park is identified as one of the essential developments in the South Docks to act as a catalyst for the future development and will include spaces for outdoor events and performances.
"It will provide a major green infrastructure bookend on the east of City Centre to compliment the fully redeveloped Fitzgerald’s Park west of City Centre," he said.
"It will provide a link from the Blackrock/Passage walk/cycleway through City Centre, along Mardyke Walk on to the Lee Fields, with an objective to create an off-road connection to the Regional Park Ballincollig."
Mr Casey said Marina Park will influence the detail designs for Tramore Valley Park, Bishopstown Park and Playground and the North West Regional Park, all three of which are at various stages of development.