Monday, September 28, 2020

Pictured at St. Carthage’s Avenue, for the official opening of the Top the City Community Garden, from left, Pazemek Slaedzih, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Damien Geoghegan, Rebecca Cappuccini and Justyna Traore. Photo: Joe Evans

MAYOR of Waterford City and County, Cllr Damien Geoghegan was on hand to cut the red ribbon at a brand new community allotment project in the heart of the city.

Based at St Carthage’s Avenue just off Barrack Street, the Top of the City Community Garden project is an initiative spearheaded by locals, with the support of Waterford City and County Council, to breathe new life into a disused area through the cultivation of mini gardens.

Waterford City and County Council, who own the land, have licensed the use to the community group as part of Waterford’s commitments around the ‘Healthy Waterford Programme’. A small launch event, organised with the help of Rebecca Cappuccini from Viking Promotions, was held as part of Culture Night.

Justyna Traore, a resident of Doyle Street, said the group are very excited about the gardens, but said there’s a lot more work to be done. “We wanted to share what we have achieved so far as a community, especially given the times we are in,” she said.

Given only a limited number could attend they are hoping to host a larger opening event into the future. Speaking about the importance of the space during the lockdown, Justyna said, “The lockdown helped the garden to happen and evolve. Everything just clicked together and somehow we all feel this space called us to recover it and transform it into the gardens.” Going forward it is hoped that footpaths can be installed and the history of the former barracks can be reflected by the group.

Cllr Eamon Quinlan, who attended the opening event, said, “It’s amazing to see what a group of local dedicated people can do. Their passion has turned an ignored, unused, rubbish-collecting eyesore into a real gem for the wider community. This area has real history and I am so glad to see it take on a new lease of life. The views are absolutely stunning with an elevated position over much of the city. With benches on site, it could become a premier space to meet friends, have a coffee and enjoy the day. The plants and rows of flowers will ensure those with a green thumb will not be short for a hobby. I am so glad to have been able to work with this group on behalf of the Council but it is they who have set the bar high around community ingenuity. It is definitely one of the City’s silver linings during this Covid era.”

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