By Sean Moriarty
10 years after Kerry County Council was offered Áras Phádraig by the Franciscan Order it seems there some light at the end of the tunnel – as there’s plans to approve an architect to the site.
The popular local community centre has been idle since May 2009 when the Franciscan Community attempted to transfer ownership of the facility to the town council; however this ran into trouble as the authority is not a charity.
It took until 2017 before the legal hitch could be overcome with the site now derelict and in need of considerable investment.
However, this could be about to change at the next meeting of Kerry County Council which takes place in Tralee on Monday.
One of the motions before the council is: The “appointment of an Architect Led Design team for the Áras Phádraig site and adjoining car park”.
Built in 1960 the Áras Pádraig had previously been a busy social centre used by the local community, arts and sporting groups for concerts, plays, classes and other events.
In 2017, our team here at the Killarney Advertiser designed an artist’s impression for this site and we got a very positive response.
In January, a feasibility study and business plan for the site in Killarney was completed following an extensive consultation and review process undertaken by the Killarney Municipal District of Kerry County Council.
The report, completed by Exodea Consulting, recommends the development of a new integrated multi-purpose facility on the existing Lewis Road site.
The core components of a new multi-use facility which would replace the existing facility would include: a contemporary arts and theatre space with rehearsal, exhibition and gallery facilities, meeting rooms to be made available for a range of community uses, an educational space to accommodate the provision of training and skills courses and office space to suit the particular needs of Killarney town.
A key recommendation is that any new facility should be financially self-sustaining and remain in the ownership of Kerry County Council.