Last week Castlebar Town Council manager, Seamus Granahan, provided an update on projects in the town at an open forum by Castlebar Chamber, issuing the following details:
Amenity park at Fairgreen
“The Fairgreen, adjacent to Scoil Raifteiri, is a big site – six acres – so it is a substantial area of ground. We got ahead of ourselves with development plans here as an opportunity arose to pitch for a grant and we completed a pitch, so that is complete, but there is a lot else to be done there. The plan incorporates new walkways, lights, landscaping and we also hope to have a skatepark, playgound and outdoor gym amenity.
“Currently we are preparing the contract documents for tenders. The funding is in place for a number of years and we hope to get more grants for it. It is like Lough Lannagh, an area of great potential and amenity,, said Mr Granahan.
“Mayo County Council and Castlebar Town Council jointly bought this hotel last year. It was lying empty and getting rapidly derelict and was not in a good state inside – the roof was leaking and the chimneys were in poor shape. We have spent €35,000 to secure the roof, €25,000 of which came from the Heritage Council for essential works, because it is a protected building, so that will help in the short term.
“We are designing the building now and hope to go to planning in the short term. At the moment Mayo County Council is renting a lot of offices around the town so it would make sense to consolidate these in the one building if possible, like the iconic Imperial Hotel in Castlebar. We couldn't get other people to buy the hotel and it would be a derelict site if we didn't take it.”
Castlebar swimming pool
“A grant of €3.8m has been approved for a new swimming pool and a site is available, in conjunction with the tennis club development beside the lake. We are looking at various options and hope to advance it as a priority scheme to move on. We hope it will happen and will bring it to planning before the end of the year.”
“This is a large site, just under six acres, right in the middle of the town, with significant potential. There are a lot of old buildings on it in very poor state posing their own challenges financially. Formal terms are being arranged with the Department of Defence with details to follow. It will take significant investment. Back in 2004/2005 we may have expected large multinationals to come and pay big money for a property like this, but now now. So what we will do is the mininum work necessary to protect the building and then will just sit on it. We don't have any obvious major plans but know that it is a very strategic site in public ownership and we would be very interesed in hearing ideas from people regarding it.”
Waterville Link Road
“We are looking to progress the Waterville Link Road through land acquisitions at Newline.”
Town centre regeneration
“As part of the town centre regeneration plans we are looking to progress works on Tucker Street, Linenhall Street and up to Gallows Hill and will start on these streets in September, to be finished by December.”
Marsh House link up to Lough Lannagh loop walk
“This pathway at the back of Chadwicks is one we would like to develop. It is in a very poor state and we have planning in place and would like to complete it this year, so that ultimately someone could cycle from Hobans car park right out to the lake, but it will be a difficult and expensive job.”
Industry and enterprise
“The Town Mayor, Eugene McCormack, met with the IDA recently and it was very positive. We don't currently have a huge industry landbank – there is that site on the old Claremorris Road which is now a disused estate. If we did get a big player that wanted to come to town and needed 20-30 acres, we could guarantee we would make it happen. The reality with large industrialists is that they pick where they want to be – they choose according to the location they want. So it's not about having a big land bank ready but they must want to come here first. However, I can give an assurance that no stone would be left unturned to make it happen if a big industrialist decided Castlebar is where they wanted to be,” Mr Granahan concluded.