The centres in Portlaoise and Portarlington are set to reopen
Nearly €700,000 in public funds has been injected into the overhaul of two of the popular amenities in Laois with the latest funds coming from the annual Sports Capital Grants programme for 2022.
Laois County Council has received €300,000 for the centre in Portlaoise with a further more than €140,000 going to its sister facility in Portarlington.
The money covers part of the cost of upgrading the two popular publicly-owned amenities in the two biggest towns in Laois.
The funding is also part of the €150 million announced by the Government on Friday, February 11 under the Sports Capital & Equipment Programme.
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media outlined to the Leinster Express the purpose of the grant for the two Laois facilities. Funding for the centre in Portlaoise is allocated from the Regional Fund.
It said Laois County Council submitted an application for works to enable persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in all recreational, leisure and sporting activities at Portlaoise Leisure Centre including the provision of automated door openings throughout the interior of the facility to ensure access throughout for users of limited mobility.
It said funding was also sought for gym equipment as the current gym equipment does not provide equal access for disabled users. The Department said Laois County Council would address this through the purchase of inclusive dual use equipment, and new gym flooring as per CARA guidelines.
The Department revealed that the funding will also contribute to the replacement of external windows that have perished.
The total project cost for the work on the building is €459,109.83. The Department said Laois County Council sought €300,000 from the programme and this amount has been provisionally allocated to the project
Meanwhile, under Portarlington is getting support under the county element of the scheme.
The Department said Laois County Council submitted an application for the refurbishment of dressing rooms at Portarlington Leisure Centre. The total project cost was €204,478.76 seeking funding of €143,135.13.
The Department confirmed that the applicant was provisionally allocated a grant of €143,135 towards the project.
Laois County Council Sports and Leisure Officer Ann Marie Maher responded to the news.
"Laois County Council are delighted with the level of funding allocated to County Laois sports clubs, community organisations and schools. We are particularly delighted to have been in a position to help many of these organisations with the application process and we will be happy to continue to provide assistance to all through the grant drawdown process.
"Laois County Council have received funding of €300k for the continued upgrading of Portlaoise Leisure Centre (which has been rebranded Laois Leisure Portlaoise)which will includes improved accessibility works and enhanced gym provision. Laois County Council also secured funding for the upgrading of changing facilities at Portarlington Leisure Centre (which has been rebranded Laois Leisure Portarlington).
"This funding will ensure that both facilities will continue to provide quality provision for the public into the future," she said.
Both facilities recently merged under one management structure with a single board. The centre in Portlaoise is set to reopen at the end of February after being closed for more than a year.
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