PICTURES: Demolition of Portlaoise town centre plaza underway
Demolition of the plaza at Fitzmaurice Place in Portlaoise got underway this week with plans to develop a public park at the site.
This is the first stage of works to transform Fitzmaurice Place from a generally unused area to a green public park with a public viewing platform inside the Old Fort Protector tower.
The demolition is expected to take three weeks in total.
Director of Services at Laois County Council, Kieran Kehoe, said the demolition will give way for new enhancement.
“We are commencing the demolition of the existing plaza in order to prepare the ground for the new approved enhancement scheme. We are also commencing the works to the wall itself in the next week or so,” he said.
Laois Heritage Forum has said the site will be cleared under supervision as there are a number of protected structures in the area.
“The site will be cleared under supervision of an archaeologist and conservation architect. This will be followed by new landscaping and paving, with a performance area. While this is going on, the historic Wall of the Fort will receive a face-lift from a specialist in historic stonework."
Laois County Council received a €185,000 grant from the Heritage Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the Historic Towns Initiative to carry out the work.
The work at Fitzmaurice Place, Church Avenue, Church Street and Railway Street Portlaoise includes landscaping, re-location of car parking, undergrounding of services, conservation and installation of public access to Fort Protector.
The project will see the transformation of Fort Protector and Fitzmaurice Place at the historic core of the town, over several phases.
The first phase of work involves the redevelopment of Fitzmaurice Place as a public park, demolition of a flat-roofed concrete structure within the north eastern corner of the Fort and construction of a timber viewing platform in the round tower of the Fort. Grounds will also be resurfaced in the area.
Fitting a new gate in the existing opening in the Fort wall on Tower Hill side and new parking spaces and public lighting along by Tower Hill are also in the first phase of the development.
Phase two will involve the removal of telegraph poles and overhead wires on Tower Hill and Railway Street and replacement with new lamp standards.
Repaving of Tower Hill and Railway Street will also be carried out as well as repairs on the fabric of the Fort walls.
This week, the demolition of the site has been ongoing. See pictures of the progress below.
See the final plan for Fitzmaurice Place below.