There was welcome news for Athlone town centre and Church Street this week, with the announcement that a grant of €1.5 million has been allocated for long awaited street enhancement works.
The town’s main thoroughfare is to benefit from a revamp to the tune of €1.5 million, thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF ), through the Designated Urban Centres Grant Scheme.
The project will include enhanced pedestrian facilities and public spaces, including the provision of high quality pavement materials, street furniture and lighting.
The funding is to be matched by the local authority, meaning a total of €3 million will be made available for the works. Westmeath County Council is inviting tenders from those interested in becoming the design team for the project.
The funding, announced by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe on Tuesday, is part of an overall allocation of €40 million nationally, including €14 million which is going to urban projects across the Border, Midlands and Western region. Mullingar and Tullamore are also to benefit from €1.5 million each for the enhancement of their civic areas and streets.
Welcoming the funding for Athlone town centre, Deputy Gabrielle McFadden said the enhancement will help attract even more visitors and increase economic activity in the town.
“Church Street is an area which has been in need of a significant facelift for some time... This funding will help improve the streetscape and the ambience in the middle of the town to attract even more visitors and tourists and encourage them to stay longer.
“This development will not just be of benefit to visitors. Local people will enjoy a better shopping experience and the improved street layout will be more accommodating towards people in wheelchairs and families with their young children.”
However, she added that the fight should continue for funding for other areas of the town such as Connaught Street and Irishtown.