PLanning permission has been sought for a floodlit all weather pitch and running track in Emo, situated between the new school and the community centre, while renovation work is kicking off at the old school to turn it into a community meeting hall.
Cllr Tom Mulhall has welcomed both schemes.
“Things are happening in Emo, it’s such a lovely scenic village. I welcome it, it’s good for the community. Down the road we will look at a park and a playground, but we will get the all weather pitch and the school done first,” he said.
The sportsfield committee have applied for money through the Sports Capital Grant scheme, which have a purse of €30 million to spend nationally. They won’t know if they have been successful until after the June closing date. With a maximum of 70 per cent available, the pitch will depend on some local fundraising for its completion.
The planning application by PP Fr Thomas Dooley includes twelve lighting columns up to 18 metres in height, and a six lane running track around the pitch, with wire fencing and ball netting. Retention is also being sought for a septic tank and percolation area at the community centre, along with existing ball stoppers and signs.
Work on converting the old national school into a community hall has begun this week by local contractor Declan Lalor, thanks to a grant of €70,000 from Laois Partnership. It is expected to be finished in two months.
“It’s good for employment that a local contractor is getting the work. The hall will provide meeting rooms for things like active retirement and parent and toddler groups. Our existing centre caters mostly for sporting groups,” explained Cllr Mulhall.
The old school was built in 1889, and shut its doors in June 2009 when the new school was complete. The stone two classroom school will undergo extensive renovations, including a new roof, insulation, installation of energy efficient heating system and new toilet facilities.
“We are delighted to be involved, it will be a lovely job. The old cast iron guttering will be maintained, and the old slate roof will be reused. It is good for jobs too that a local contractor who went through the tendering process got the work,” said Ann Goodwin from Laois Partnership.