Christmas has arrived with a good news story for two towns in Mayo with the news this week that a third round of funding for the regeneration of Castlebar and Ballina has been processed, with Castlebar receiving €444,0000 and Ballina receiving €300,000 towards enhancing both towns.
The funds were issued for administration to Mayo County Council by the Border, Midland and Western (BMW ) Regional Assembly, which is directly managing the allocation of a €17.1m European Regional Development Funding available to five Gateway and five Hub Towns in the BMW Region
The funding towards the Castlebar Town Centre Regeneration Project has been tipped to boost business in the heart of Mayo’s county town, with Mayo county councillor Cyril Burke, chairman of the BMW Regional Assembly, stating: “I hope that the project, which is designed to significantly improve Castlebar’s Main Street, Castle Street and Linenhall Street, will encourage new businesses to open and make the area a more people-friendly environment in which to do business and engage in recreation.”
In relation to the €300,000 funding for Ballina, Cllr Burke added: “This project represents a significant strategic investment in Ballina and should give the town an economic and confidence boost. I would like to congratulate all those who were involved in the project.”
The Castlebar regeneration project is focused upon revitalising Mayo’s county town through a programme of town centre regeneration and streetscape refurbishment along with the development of the river walk as an amenity corridor.
A total of €1.1m has been provided by the Assembly towards the Castlebar project to date.
Director of the BMW Assembly Gerry Finn said: “We are delighted to have been in a position to provide financial support towards this strategic project in Castlebar. This project has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the sustainable economic development of Castlebar and we congratulate all those involved in this important project.”
The payment of €300,000 towards the Ballina Town Centre Regeneration Project brings the total paid to the town to date under the fund to €737,000. Funding has been provided for the refurbishment of Pearse Street along with improvements to the former provincial bank on Pearse Street to house the Jackie Clarke Library and Archives.
Mr Finn said the project would enhance Ballina town centre and encourage greater economic and social activity in the area.
He added: “Funding is provided by the Assembly from the BMW Regional Operational Programme under its Gateway and Hub Development Programme. This programme represents a strategic investment by the BMW Regional Assembly in the region’s Gateways and Hubs as identified in the National Spatial Strategy. In these constrained economic times it is vital that the development of the identified drivers of economic growth in our region continue to receive as much financial and strategic support as possible”.
The BMW Regional Operational Programme 2007-13 - part of Ireland’s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union -prioritises sustainable urban development in both the NSS Gateways and Hub towns. The objective of the ERDF co-financed Grants Scheme managed by the BMW Regional Assembly is to contribute to enhancing the attractiveness of the Gateways and Hub Towns as places to live, work and invest in, and to improving their development potential through enhancement of the economic, social and environmental conditions of the growth centre in support of both the Lisbon competitiveness objectives and the need to promote greater intra-regional balance in the interests of internal cohesion.
Local Authorities receiving support are required to provide 40 per cent non-borrowed match funding from their own resources.
Projects under the regeneration programme are targeted at urban development, transport, arts and infrastructure projects.
For more information see www.bmwassembly.ie