Councillors unanimously ratified plans for the rejuvenation of Church Street at a special meeting of the Athlone Municipal District last Thursday, September 15, giving their blessing to the preferred option of a one-way system running from east to west.
Fine Gael councillor John Dolan welcomed the decision. He told the chamber that the town needs a main street “we can be proud of”. Cllr Dolan said it is important to establish a “strong and vibrant” image around Athlone’s main thoroughfare in order to attract much-needed visitors to the area and town in general.
The decision will now progress to the Part 8 Planning phase which director of services, Barry Kehoe, said will take between four and six months to complete. All documents and drawings relating to the project will be on public display throughout the Part 8 process to allow traders, business people, and the general public to have their say on the issue.
Mr Kehoe said a report will be prepared at the end of the Part 8 process and distributed among councillors who will then vote on whether to proceed to the construction phase.
The Church Street project is estimated to cost €3 million, with €1.5 coming from the Department of Transport and the remaining sum to be augmented by Westmeath County Council. The funding from the Department must be utilised by 2018.