The westward one-way system for Church Street will come into effect on Thursday, February 15, it was announced at a media briefing in the Athlone Civic Centre last week (February 1 ).
The scheme, which is supported under the EU Urban Designated Fund, aims to revitalise the heart of Athlone’s central shopping area both aesthetically and in terms of accessibility, supporting the sustained and future growth of the town. It is estimated that it will take 10 months to complete, concluding before Christmas this year.
District manager Pat Keating spoke first about the project.
“Church Street provides an important link between the historic Shannon area of Athlone and our contemporary Civic Square and Athlone Town’s Shopping Centres. However, in its current state, Church Street does not function well for anyone with narrow footpaths and frequent traffic congestion. We want to ensure that the wonderful heritage and traditional character of this Architectural Conservation Area with its independent shops, cafés, restaurants and bars can flourish as a result of this significant investment,” he said.
Mayor Aengus O’Rourke (FF ) welcomed what he described as an exciting redevelopment that will have far reaching benefits for the town.
“The newly enhanced, high quality area will be an inviting, welcoming space for shoppers, tourists, pedestrians and the wider local community, allowing the area to flourish as a thriving shopping, business and social district,” he said.
John McGrath, President of Athlone Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said wider, more user friendly footpaths and more pedestrian crossings will make it safer and more comfortable for pedestrians, particularly for those with impaired mobility, the elderly and young.
“It will also help to attract new businesses to Athlone’s industrial parks as appealing, user friendly town centres are key to foreign direct investment decisions. We believe the newly enhanced area will be a source of community pride for everyone in Athlone – a part of town that is particularly attractive, uncluttered and safe, and an enjoyable space to spend time in,” he said.
The project’s progress can be followed on Westmeath County Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages and on the council website.