Residents of a Clonmel estate are reaping the benefits of a local green area that has been transformed in the past few months.
The green at Cooleens Close had been a wild and overgrown area that was littered with rubbish. But now it’s a well-maintained, wide open space that’s proving a great source of enjoyment for the local community, and is green lung in a busy area of the town.
The residents jumped at the chance when the South Tipperary Development Company approached them just over three months ago to do an improvement project at the green.
Tus (a community work placement scheme providing short-term working opportunities for the unemployed) became involved and with their help the residents cut the grass and cleared the rubbish. Walls that had been decorated two years ago were given a fresh lick of paint, and under the guidance of horticulturalist Marian Clarke an allotment was dug.
Here the residents grow a range of fruit and vegetables that they share and they have plans to sow potatoes for next spring. They have already grown and harvested broccoli, Brussels sprouts, scallions, beans and peas, carrots, lettuce, rocket leaves, cauliflower, cabbage, sweetcorn, pumpkins, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, herbs and gooseberries.
A nearby memorial wall lists the names of departed residents and the laying of a flower bed in front of the wall will be dedicated to the memory of late community worker Eileen Anderson, who died a year ago.
A space for playing skittles has also been provided while the children have their own section of wall on which they paint, as their creative talents flourish.
The improvements will be celebrated at a community day on Sunday, September 23rd. This day out for all the family will feature a bouncy castle, face painting, a 5-a-side soccer match against the Gardai and other sports, while refreshments will also be served.
The local children are now busy making bunting and decorations for the day.
Local resident Mary Lawlor says “Young and old alike are taking a great interest in the green. They can come out and play and just sit down and relax here, and what they have is something they didn’t have for years.
Cooleens Close has its ups and downs, just like other areas, but if I won the Lotto in the morning I wouldn’t move because you have great neighbours, there’s a great spirit here. There’s great positivity and great potential. When people have done the work themselves they respect the place”, she says.
The Tidy Towns committee members call regularly to help maintain the green and Mary says that the residents have also received great assistance and encouragement from the Mayor, Cllr. Billy Shoer and Cllr. Joe Leahy, while the paint for the walls was supplied by Millea’s in Irishtown and Bob Fitzgerald’s.
Mary says that the Borough Council and its employee Michael Tierney have also been a great help while Carol McHugh from the Vocational Education Committee is compiling a DVD on all the progress made there.
“It’s a great facility for the people of the area. We’ll keeping adding little bits until we have it completed to our liking”, says Mary Lawlor.
Those plans include a Christmas tree that will be erected in November to give the area a festive atmosphere.