Skatepark consultation reveals young people's experience of Kilkenny

The park is to be a youth facility ‘inclusive, open to all young people’

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY SKATEPARK

In Kilkenny’s Castle Park, young people over 12 aren’t allowed use the playground, and there is a perceived lack of any other facilities for them in the Park

Consultation with young people regarding the proposed new skatepark for Kilkenny City revealed some interesting attitudes about the generation’s experience of their city.

They were asked about their sense of belonging and perception of safety, while some expressed the feeling that there is a lack of a safe space for young people to just ‘hang out’ here.

A location for the new outdoor skatepark has been identified on the former St Francis brewery site. At last week’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council, members gave the go-ahead to look for a design consultant to bring the project to the next stage.

Senior engineer Tony Lauhoff outlined the extent of the public consultation that has gone into bringing the project to this current stage. The skatepark is to be ‘inclusive, open to all young people’, as well as meeting the needs of local skaters.

Groups consulted included Foroige, Urban Sports Kilkenny / Paradical, local schools, Young Irish Film Makers, and Comhairle na nOg, and others. In one workshop, a group was brought onsite to see for how the park might be laid out.

The identified location for the skatepark site is adjacent to the Rivers Breagagh and Nore, and consultation reveals interesting attitudes here as well. Young people have a conflicting experience with rivers. They have concerns about the safety of their belongings on the riverbank, but their perception of safety is bolstered by the presence of lifeguards .

In Kilkenny’s Castle Park, young people over 12 aren’t allowed use the playground, and there is a perceived lack of any other facilities for them in the Park. However, they feel safe in the grassed areas.

Mr Lauhoff said some of them were concerned about certain areas where there were older teenagers congregating, and there was a perception of one named street —Kieran Street — being ‘unsafe’ due to groups of older teenagers. The young people also outlined that they were regularly asked to move on by local fast food outlets.