Plaza underground car park has been out of use for a decade
Laois County Council has published plans to reopen the vandalised underground former public car park at county hall for staff working in the local authority offices.
The council has invited companies to tender for a design and build services contract for this project to reopen the lower deck of the Civic Plaza located on James Fintan Lalor Avenue Portlaoise.
In tender documents, the council outlines the background to the contract.
"The Civic Plaza Carpark was constructed in 2007/2008 but the lower deck was closed soon after following vandalism and anti-social behaviour in this area. The carpark has remained closed since. It is Laois County Council intention to reopen this carpark to provide much needed additional staff parking," says the council.
The council summarises the damage done by vandals which forced the closure of the facility which as a capacity for more than 50 vehicles.
"The upper and basement level car park had been serviced by an elevator which has been vandalised and is out of order. Recessed lighting and wiring in the exterior walls have all been damaged and there is graffiti on the walls and doors. The entry and exit roller doors and pedestrian doors on the basement level have also been damaged and remain closed," says the council.
Extensive work is required to bring car park back into use. New lights, upgraded CCTV, a panic button and swipe card entry-exit system are some of the measures listed.
The panic buttons will be placed at all pedestrian exits while the CCTV and swipe system will be linked to existing services in county hall.
Entry barries with fobs for drivers will also be installed. New shutters are doors are also required along with a new fire alarm.
It is anticipated that the project will commence in October 2020 to be completed by the end of the year. Companies have until October 19 to respond.
Apart from Laois County Council staff, county hall also accommodates the offices of local agencies and the shared payment payroll services for local authorities.
Last July, Cllr Willie Aird recalled how Dunnes Stores owner Margaret Heffernan gave the council land for parking in the civic plaza, which includes the closed underground parking area.
“We got that site free, the council invested in a carpark but the bottom is not open to use. If we charged €10 a month to encourage people to park, it would be opened up and there would be no vandalism,” he said.
He made his comment in support of a motion tabled by Cllr Thomasina Connell calling for cheaper all day council parking for Portlaoise for workers