A central feature of the Government’s North-East Inner City Initiative, adopted by the Fine Gael administrative in 2017 is the Greening Strategy, designed to develop and improve streetscapes and open spaces within the area for the benefit of the local community.
Funding of more than €1m has been spent across the last two years to enable significant improvements take place along Dorset Street, in Summerhill and along Sean McDermott Street, for example. 2022 will see an additional €562,000 spent on funding local greening projects as well as completing other initiatives that could not be advanced last year.
The full list of projects to be advanced this year, include:
- Dorset Central Median Works (Phase 3 – Final Phase)
Proposes to continue and complete the successful treatment of the Dorset Street Phase one and two projects, completed in 2019 and 2021. The current central median trees are either dead or failing, creating both poor visual characteristics to the street and the impression of neglect. The proposal will involve the removal of the existing hard surfacing and existing trees and the replacement with a planting scheme of mature trees, herbaceous perennials to provide year-round colourful display of plants, bulbs and linear hedging. The planting area will further reduce the hard surfaces in the area thus enhancing the sustainable urban drainage, biodiversity and the environmental health of the area.
- Liberty Park
Following on from the community engagement carried out over the last number of years by Stephen Rourke and the LPAPP. The report has requested a series of minor interventions to be carried out to help improve both the park functionality and usability. This has come at an important time as the works to Diamond Park are due on site this year and will see Diamond Park closed to the public for a short period of time and it is an opportunity to activate Liberty Park as a destination and valuable open space and try eliminating the current anti-social behaviour within the park. The works involve the introduction of bins, gym equipment and minor landscape improvement works across the entire park. While Diamond Park is closed, the City Council hopes to activate the open space leading to Liberty Park as well alongside the new Cluid housing project.
- Open Space at Sean MacDermott St. / Gloucester Place junction (St Marys Mansions)
Diamond Park is due to go to site in 2022, this will involve the park being closed for approximately 10 months. During this time, it will be important to create additional useable open space. It is proposed that this is an ideal time to activate both the open space at the junction of Sean McDermott Street and James Joyce Street adjacent to the Cluid Housing Scheme and Liberty Park. This space currently has no use and Cluid housing are happy to engage with the NEIC Greening Strategy and the Area office to activate this space for the wider community. It is proposed to create a space that creates a function and activity for all ages while also creating sensory and contemplative spaces for passive recreation.
- Clonmore Road, Ballybough (Project deferred from 2021)
The proposed project has been highlighted by the community and residents off Clonmore Road following the success of the St Bridget’s Road and James Joyce Street Greening Interventions. The works will require a lot of public consultation and survey investigations on the redesign of the streets car parking layout to facilitate tree planting. The Site works comprise the removal and excavation of the existing surfacing and the creation of top soiled tree pits/planting areas with a kerb upstand. Large specimen mature trees will create a feature in the middle of the new spaces and will be under planted with a variety of specimen ground cover plants and flowering bulbs. Total: 12 Tree Pits (approx.). This project was paused due to Covid-19 and is ready to be re-activated following HSE guidelines.
- Hewdardine Terrace Park
Sitting in the heart of the NEIC Greening Strategy. This small, under-utilised site has the potential to become a very valuable re-energized, active urban space that can serve community residents, School students and the local senior citizen centre. This currently empty site and opportunistic parking area can be turned into a multidisciplinary garden and community space. Increasing biodiversity, community respite and gathering opportunities, increasing SUDS measures and increasing the environmental health of the area. The design/vision of the new pocket park will be in collaboration with the local community.
- Adopt a Tree Project
Due to covid-19 The Adopt a Tree Project was paused as the project requires a lot of community engagement which was not recommended under the HSE guidelines. The project can now be reactivated and will see the NEIC Greening Strategy providing small garden trees to households who have front or back gardens. This project has the potential of having a huge positive impact in the area for both promoting the usability of the NEIC Streets by increasing the walkability and attractiveness of the area and increasing environmental services through community engagement.
I am very pleased to report that a further €400,000 is being made by the Government’s NEIC Initiative on top of the €350,000 already allocated towards the renovation of the Diamond Park at the corner of Gardiner Street and Sean McDermott Street. This investment will enable Dublin City Council to advance the process to select a contractor with a view to construction works beginning in September or so.
Separately, the Parks Department of Dublin City Council has been working alongside the Government’s NEIC Initiative to replicate the Dorset Street central median scheme along East Wall Road. Funding of approximately €150,000 has been set aside for this project, which when complete will enclose the NEIC area in high quality landscape interventions and strong buffer zones between heavily trafficked routes and the residential areas of the NEIC. These interventions will help soften and reduce the impact of these very heavily used transport routes in and out of the city. There are currently no trees along this route of the city, creating both poor visual characteristics to the street and the impression of neglect. The proposal will involve the removal of the existing hard surfacing and the introduction of a planting scheme of mature trees and herbaceous perennials to provide year-round colourful displays of plants, bulbs and linear hedging. The environmental services provided by this intervention will be substantial in both improving air quality by capturing air pollution and particulate matter, improving biodiversity, improving the visual aesthetics by creating a greener city and community, improve Sustainable urban drainage and community health. As Chair of the Dublin Central Area Committee, I will be liaising with officials to finalise the details of this initiative before circulating more information in the coming days.
As ever, if you would like further information in respect of these initiatives, please get in touch with me by email at RayMcAdam@gmail.com.
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee