A new Economic Strategy for Athlone was launched by Westmeath and Roscommon County Council elected members in the Civic Centre Athlone on Tuesday afternoon.
The Strategy, jointly commissioned by both local authorities and prepared by consultancy firm Grant Thornton, is a blueprint for the economic development of the Midland’s biggest town.
The purpose of the Economic Strategy is to inform Westmeath and Roscommon County Council’s preparation of a joint Strategy for the future development of Athlone up to the year 2040.
The ambitious Strategy, detailing 17 core objectives, aims to capitalise on Athlone’s central location by creating a unique destination capable of attracting high quality talent, investors, businesses, and tourists to the town. The Strategy will be overseen by an Implementation Advisory Group being set up specifically to oversee the Economic Strategy for Athlone.
The Strategy will also aim to position Athlone as a vibrant economy that remains environmentally resilient with a strong social fabric, while also remaining a strong, inclusive, accessible local economy, with safe, socially inclusive, and well-connected communities.
The Strategy will also provide a focus on promoting increased employment and enterprise opportunities in Athlone and its hinterland as part of the future development of the Regional Centre.
The Economic Strategy, presented by Mary Grier, Senior Planner, Roscommon County Council and Cathaldus Hartin, Senior Planner, Westmeath County Council, identifies the economic ambition for Athlone to become a globally successful and smart regional growth centre.
The well attended launch in the Athlone Civic Offices was presided by Cllr Vinny McCormack, Mayor of the Athlone–Moate Municipal District and Barry Kehoe, Director of Services with Westmeath County Council, Cllr John Naughten, Cathaoirleach, Athlone Municipal District and Greg O’Donnell, Director of Services of Roscommon County Council.
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Also present at the launch were Pat Gallagher, Chief Executive, Westmeath County Council and Shane Tiernan, Chief Executive, Roscommon County Council as were councillors and key stakeholders from both counties.
Cllr McCormack referenced the collaboration of both local authorities to enable the Economic Strategy come to fruition.
“I am delighted to see the cooperation of both Councils in commissioning this Strategy which will be a valuable tool in guiding the future development of the regional centre of Athlone over the next 20 years,” Cllr McCormack stated.
Cllr John Naughten also expressed his positive thoughts, noting that the Economic Strategy would allow Athlone to further develop its potential as a growth town.
“This strategy has been eagerly awaited and will enable Athlone to further develop its potential as a regional economic centre, a vibrant community, and an attractive place to work and live,” Cllr Naughten remarked.
Athlone has been designated as a Regional Growth Centre by the National Planning Framework (NPF ) and the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy.