Mayor of Athlone, Aengus O’Rourke (FF ), is determined to build on the tourist potential of Athlone, and has called for more involvement from local business owners in doing so.
Addressing last Monday’s meeting of the Athlone Municipal District, Mayor O’Rourke trumpeted all the town has going for it, highlighted its access to the motorway, its proximity to the River Shannon, and the many restaurants and volume of accommodation in the locality.
However, he added that more can and should be done to highlight Athlone’s appeal. In doing so he called on local businesses and stakeholders to get more involved.
“I would like to see a lot more of our business community and stakeholders getting involved, they need to be driving our local authority harder,” he said.
Mayor O’Rourke listed untidy streets, vacant properties, dirty shop fronts, derelict buildings, dog fouling, casual littering, illegal signage, weeds, and a lack of free WiFi as issues that need to be urgently addressed.
“The finer details and the creative stuff that needs to happen around the town needs to come from the stakeholders not the local authority,” he commented.
Mayor O’Rourke said Kilkenny, Galway, and Westport have taken a rate payers’ approach to how their towns are presented, and called for a similar approach in Athlone.
“So the approach I am promoting to businesses is two-fold: demand higher standards from the council and demonstrate by action that we ourselves are serious about how we present our town, not how the council presents our town, and I say this as a rate payer myself.”
He added that he intends to meet business groups and stakeholders with this message in the coming weeks.