€2.65 m for Athlone and Mullingar projects

Westmeath local authorities are delighted to announce that grant aid funding of up to ?2.65 million towards the Athlone Art Gallery and the Mullingar Cycle Network has been secured through the BMW Gateways and Hubs ERDF (European Regional Development Fund ) Scheme.

The grants amount to ?1.45m in funding for the Athlone art gallery project and ?1.2m for the Mullingar cycle network.

Welcoming the Athlone art gallery and artist studios development, mayor of Athlone, Cllr Mark Cooney, said the project will “help Athlone to achieve its potential as a Gateway town and will make a very significant contribution to the arts and the cultural life of the town and the greater midlands area”.

This grant funding will be added to an existing grant of ?650,000 already secured through the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism’s ACCESS scheme. The Fr Matthew Hall, on the banks of the River Shannon, will be the home of the gallery.

The gallery, due to open in late 2010, aims to host some of Ireland’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary art, and to undertake a wide range of educational activities.

Commenting on the allocation of funding for the Mullingar cycle network, chairman of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Fintan Cooney, said he is delighted with the proposal.

“I hope that the realisation of the scheme will allow people to cycle safely and conveniently between their homes and their place of work or school and so on. The scheme will put Mullingar to the forefront in terms of the new Smarter Travel agenda,” he said.

The project will form part of a wider network of cycling and walking routes. It includes appropriately coloured and textured surfacing, signage, cycle parking facilities, and appropriate interconnectivity with existing cycle routes.

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