The lack of a Community Facility in Cong has long been felt. The need for the development was highlighted by the Cong Development Association which commissioned a research study which led to the publication of the Cong Community Action Plan 2002 – 2007, page 17 of this document states:
“A survey carried out for Cong, A Community Profile in 1999 highlighted the need for community facilities in Cong, particularly with regard to providing for the needs of the young and the elderly in the community”.
Page 19 of Action Plan sets out the following long term goal:
“by the end of 2007 to have a Site and Plan for a Community Facility”
Successive Community Councils and voluntary groups in Cong have worked determinedly over the years to achieve this goal which resulted in the purchase of a 2.675 acre site from Coillte in 2004 for €40,000, and was paid in full by 2007 through fundraising activities. Buoyed up by this achievement the Community Council appointed a Sub-committee to progress the project. The Cong Community Centre Committee was formed on the 19th September 2008. It consisted of three voluntary community groups joining together with a common purpose to develop community facilities in Cong. The committee consisted of representation from the Cong Community Council, the Congolians Youth Development Group and the Neale GAA.
“To benefit the Community and advance education in the area of Cong village and the parish of Cong, Cro*ss & the Neale by establishing, promoting and operating a Community Centre which will act as a focus & catalyst for Community Development.”
Quote from the Companies Memorandum
Comprehensive plans for the development were submitted to Mayo Co. Council and full planning permission was granted in 2010. Tenders were sought but even the lowest tender was felt to be too heavy a burden to place on the community especially in the light of the economic downturn. The committee, in consultation with the wider community, decided to go back to the drawing board and in consultation with the planning authorities came up with a more viable design that could be built in three phases. On the 21st October 2012 full planning permission was granted for the revised development and tenders were sought for Phase I of the project. The builder chosen was Michael Duane Builder from Castlebar and work on the development began in January 2014.
Construction was completed by October 2014 and the resulting building is a magnificent facility, built to all the modern day building standards that will serve the needs of all age for generations to come. The people of the parish were asked to come up with a suitable name for the centre and the name chosen was ‘The Crossroads’.
“The Crossroads are an iconic symbol in the social history of Ireland as a place where people gathered together to share friendships, stories, song and dance.”
It was a great achievement for parish of its size to fundraise and build this fabulous centre in what were very tough economic times. However, the facility will serve the needs of the people for generations to come and has built great community spirit in the process.