AMBITIOUS proposals for a community complex and an Irish cultural centre in Sallins have been prepared.
Community groups in the village are eyeing up 30 acres of land close to Bodenstown Cross on the Clane side of the village which they want developed to host a variety of sporting and recreational needs.
Sallins Community Council (SCC) has made a case to Kildare County Council for the facilities, the centre and a new playground.
In the meantime negotiations are taking place with various sports groups and local organisations, including the GAA, with the aim of having an agreed approach to how the land will be used.
“At the moment we are trying to talk to all of the groups involved with the aim of getting a consensus and if we achieve this it will be much easier to proceed,” said SCC chairman Tony Gavin said last week.
SCC members are also unhappy about the absence of regulated parking in the village which means that rail commuters park in the village and in nearby housing estates to avoid paying to park in the Irish Rail car park or at the Waterways.
The SCC recalled that the 30 acres were zoned for recreational use when lands north of the village were earmarked for additional residential zoning.
It it proposed that these lands will be transferred to the county council and then be leased for community use.
SCC has provided a list of various community organisations in the town that they had contacted and pointed out that each group has the capacity to develop and cater for larger numbers given suitable facilities.
The Irish Cultural Centre for Kildare would cater for Irish language, music, dance and local heritage. They contend that Sallins is ideally located within the county and that national funding is potentially available.
They have also provided a detailed plan of a playground which included a canal and railway feature and sought the support of the council to further this proposal.
The community council is also currently completing a parking survey out which will highlight the adverse effect of day commuter parking on local businesses. When this is finalised it will be submittted to the county council along with specific proposals to resolve the issue.
Mr Gavin has pointed out that the population of Sallins has grown from 966 people in 1996 to 3,806 a decade later and there has been a corresponding growth in the number of community groups from 4 to 13.
The GAA club had indicated it needs 25 acres, according to Mr Gavin, and he said all the groups can fundraise for the project independently to provide their own facilities.
John Russell of SCC said that the groups need to expand and need land to do so. He added the land could be leased to individual groups or to a community group. He also said facilities like parking, a hall and toilets could be used commonly by all the groups.
“This is an opportunity to make up for a lack on investment in the town. The land is available because of the residential development that has taken place and how this is done is up to the county council,” he said.
The area councillors are broadly supportive of the initiative and Cllr Paddy McNamara said it made sense for the different community groups to come together to further the project.