Urban regeneration projects to enhance town centre landscape

RONAN FAGAN

The ever evolving landscape within the heart of Athlone will undergo further positive enhancement as details of three urban regeneration developments, approved as part of the Project Ireland 2040 initiative were relayed at the monthly meeting of the Athlone Moate Municipal District.

Planning and design phases for the three projects, Athlone Town Centre Regeneration and Enhancement, Athlone Tourism and Cultural Quarter and Loughaniskin Urban Regeneration, which have a target cost of €14.25m, are expected to commence by year end with the expected conclusion of works being 2023.

Three key sites

Extending the Church Street regeneration, the vision and the objective of the Athlone Town Centre enhancement project is to create a strategic and high profile public realm which guides, encourages and invites pedestrians and patrons to explore and move through a vibrant central location.

With the creation of a pro-active programme to encourage property owners and occupiers to renew street frontages to positively transform and define the focal entry point to the main shopping thoroughfare of Athlone, the project seeks to extend the high-quality public realm and enhancements along Mardyke Street and Sean Costello Street.

The Athlone Tourism and Cultural Quarter project, which is expected to be the last of the three urban regeneration developments to conclude, has a focus on the west side of the town with the provision of streetscape enhancement works to the left bank of Athlone and a particular focus on Market Square.

Transformation of a terraced block of vacant properties on Connaught Street to create bespoke, affordable creative studios and spaces with residential accommodation to provide a living and working space environment and the development of a dedicated digital hub within the Athlone Community Taskforce premises on Ball Alley Street contributing to the creative economy theme of the area which will bring a spirit of innovation and enterprise to the area are notable features of this particular project.

Regeneration of the historic 1757 Athlone Canal to create a traffic free greenway forming a looped walk extending along the canal and the banks of the River Shannon to the Ranelagh amenity site is also a prominent aspect of the Athlone Tourism and Cultural Quarter development.

The Loughaniskin Urban Regeneration project will see the development of an existing under-utilised strategic urban landbank which adjoins the core area of Athlone, providing a dynamic mixed use quarter that will capitalize and extend upon the commercial and enterprise potential of Athlone, a designated regional centre and accommodate a quantum of residential space.

Being complex developments, all three urban regeneration projects will necessitate extensive stakeholder engagement prior to and during their progression, with members of the public being able to access relevant information courtesy of a dedicated local authority website presence pertaining to the detailed works.

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