The â‚¬1.7m Ballymacarbry Community Centre comprising a theatre hall, tourist hostel, indoor astro-turf sports hall, gym, library, meeting rooms and Montessori pre-school was officially opened last Friday nine years after the first sod was turned on the project.
Pat Melody, former owner of the site on which the community centre is built, was given the honour of cutting the ribbon and unveiling the commemorative plaque to officially open the facility that is the envy of rural parishes all over the country.
He sold the site to Ballymacarbry Community Centre Ltd., which developed the community centre over a period of eight years. The centre was finished last year with the completion of a kitchen for community social events.
Bishop of Waterford & Lismore Most Rev. Alphonsus Cullinan and Mayor of Waterford City & County Cllr John Cummins were among the dignitaries present at the celebration attended by an estimated 400 people.
Bishop Cullinan assisted by Fr Colm Oâ€™Ryan blessed the 16,000 square foot centre.
The Bishop and Mayor along with Waterford Leader Partnership Chairman Michael J. Walsh and Ballymacarbery Community Centre Chairman Mick Fenton spoke at the ceremony and former Waterford Hurling Manager Michael Ryan acted as Master of Ceremonies.
The opening ceremony was followed by refreshments in the hall and an array of entertainment for children ranging from bouncy castles, games and face painting to balloons and Uncle Mickeâ€™s pets corner. Local musicians also performed at the function.
Ballymacarbry Community Centre Committee Secretary Sean Guiry said the centre was the product of a huge community effort and the opening ceremony was a great night of celebration for the parish.
It was the culmination of ten years of hard work and fund-raising. Sean said the five-member Community Centre Committee also including treasurer Danny Oâ€™Rourke, Assistant Treasurer Dick Guiry and Assistant Secretary Pat Ryan has met every Monday night over the past decade to plan and organise.
He said the community centre was built in four phases. Grants from Waterford Co. Council, Waterford Leader Partnership and government Sports Capital Grants contributed â‚¬750,000. The remaining â‚¬950,000 has fallen on the local community to raise through a variety of fund-raising initiatives and donations.
The people of Ballymacarbry are now reaping the reward for all their hard work. As well as being the heart of parish life, the centreâ€™s hostel attracts hillwalking and cycling tourists, groups from schools, scouting organisations and social clubs while its astro-turf sports hall is used by a range of sports clubs. Its library, gym, kitchen and other facilities are also used by residents of Ballmacarbryâ€™s 15 homes for the elderly next door.