A momentous and historic day in the fabric of Athlone as the official opening of the Church Street enhancement project was performed by Cllr. John Dolan, Cathaoirleach, Westmeath County Council, on Friday afternoon.
The town’s main thoroughfare has been completely revitalised by the €4m refurbishment project, the purpose of which was to aesthetically enhance the centre of Athlone and regenerate business in the locality.
Prior to the unveiling of a plaque to mark the occasion, Cllr. Dolan, noted that the culmination of the enhancement project works would soon be complemented by future developments within the town.
“This is the first of many positive developments which will improve our town aesthetically and encourage business growth within the centre of Athlone. As key projects, Athlone Tourism Cultural Quarter, Athlone Town Centre Regeneration and Enhancement, Loughaniskin come to fruition in the future, the town will positively evolve,” Cllr. Dolan remarked.
The Cathaoirleach noted the funding provided via European channels which greatly assisted the project.
“European monies for the project was granted in January 2016 and the funding, matched by Westmeath County Council, enabled us, as a local authority to proceed with the project,” Cllr. Dolan continued.
Complementing the detailed and intricate nature of the work developed by John Cradock Ltd., Cllr. Dolan complented the traders in the locality, whose patience was commendable as work progressed on the project.
“The enhancement of Church Street is now befitting of a town which has been noted as a regional growth centre under the National Framework Plan 2040,” Cllr. Dolan concluded.
Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena, spoke of his pride as an Athlone native upon seeing the culmination of the revitalised works.
“Having initially proposed the Church Street enhancement works when Town Mayor in 2014, I am proud to be in acting in a similar capacity as we officially open the project. This major investment along the core street of Athlone has revitalised the town centre and created an attractive and vibrant area for the local community and tourists to enjoy. We now have a streetscape that is user friendly for everyone with wide footpaths, shared platforms for road crossings, appropriate sitting and lighting,” the Town Mayor enthused.
Further complementing the understanding shown by the traders as works progressed, Cllr. Keena noted the contributions of those who made submissions during the consultation process.
“The contractors John Cradock Ltd. were exemplary in their work and I wish to express my gratitude to members of the local authority executive for their ongoing work in delivering on this project,” Cllr. Keena continued.
Noting that Athlone was now the retail capital of the Midlands, Cllr. Keena spoke of the future plans for Athlone.
“There are further positive developments due to take place in Athlone, to include the extension of this intricate paving towards Dunnes Stores and Mardyke Street. We also intend to upgrade Connaught Street and enhance the Canal and Ranelagh areas. These are all necessary and important infrastructural projects as Athlone makes advancements as a regional growth centre, he concluded.