The restoration of the athletics track at the Watershed will further secure the future of athletics and sport in Kilkenny.
That's according to Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Matt Doran, who was on hand to cut the ribbon at the official re-opening of the track last week. The 440-metre, six-lane track was restored and upgraded earlier this year, thanks to Government and local authority funding, along with tireless efforts from the Board of the facility.
“There is, and always has been, a great tradition of athletics activity and achievement in Kilkenny, and this new investment should do much to secure and encourage it further,” said Cllr Doran.
The running track has been a part of the facility for 25 years, but was nearing its 'sell-by' date in recent years, having been very well used. It has been part of training and success for many local athletes, some of whom have gone on to represent their country in the Olympics.
“The Watershed has become part of the fabric of the community in Kilkenny, and has grown and developed into a place where people come to engage in physical activity for all abilities, in a place where they feel welcome and are provided with the highest standard of facilities and equipment, complemented by committed staff to help them secure their personal goals,” said the cathaoirleach.
“ I hope that this new track will produce more Kilkenny Olympians who will bring honour to Kilkenny, and I hope it will become a place where citizens of all abilities will enjoy for years to come.”
Kilkenny County Council supported the project to the tune of €225,000 to supplement the 2014 Sports Capital Programme grant funding that Watershed chief executive Dermot Gaynor and his team worked to secure.
Billy Murphy, who has been the chairman at the Watershed since its opening in 2008, said that Kilkenny can be justly proud of the vision of its elected representatives in taking steps to copperfasten the facility's future.
Mr Gaynor outlined the works that had taken place, which also included a number of upgrades as well as replacement.
This includes rebuilding all the substructures, improvements to the camber and drainage of the track, installing a new high quality IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) standard surface, re-building the pole vault runway and other ancillary works.