€2.3m parking and EU money to improve Mullingar in 2010

Allocations for the €1.13m collected from parking in Mullingar last year were shown to councillors this week (January 18 ), at the monthly meeting of the area committee, as well as as a €1.2m EU grant to promote cycling around the town.

A first tranche of €300,000 has already been approved and ring-fenced for a number of priority projects to be finished this year, including a pedestrian crossing at Newtown Lawns, finishing the town park and painting the footbridge across the canal at the harbour.

The balance of the €1.13m will be spent on new footpaths (€183,333 - to be augmented by a €370,000 central Government grant ) new litter bins (€20,000 ), painting street furniture (€30,000 ), the provision of more Pay and Display parking machines and signs (€25,000 ) and a €400,000 contribution to cycle routes.

The council plans to improve the Royal canal towpaths from Saunders Bridge to the harbour over the next three years as part of the Smarter Travel Project Fund, designed to promote more walking and cycling in the State.

This will be added to the €1.2m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF ) grant received on Friday (January 15 ) to create 20kms of high quality cycle lanes around Mullingar as part of the BMW Gateway scheme.

Cllr Robert Troy (FF ) suggested that when the council were purchasing the new Pay and Display machines, that it investigate the possibility of getting a machine that can issue post-dated tickets for “people who do the right thing and leave their car in town on Friday night”.

Cllr Troy also made enquiries about how the regional sports centre mooted for Robinstown was progressing but was told by director of services, George Lambden, that at an estimated cost of €24m: “I don’t see it happening this year”.

Notification was given by Mr Lambden of four projects which are to be funded by development levies in 2010.

These include a roundabout at the Lakepoint entry on the Dublin Road (€357,000 ), the restoration of a section of the old Gainstown road (€20,000 ) and the installation of two pedestrian crossings on the Dublin Road at Prospect and Westmeath Motors (€40,000 ).

Mr Lambden did warn, however, that as negotiations were still ongoing with some of the developers in these cases, neither the exact placement nor build timeline could be given acccurately just yet.

In other business, Cllr Mick Dollard (Lab ) wanted to remind the executive that the local army barracks was willing to offer two decomissioned 25-pounder artillery pieces for placement around the town. He said one other was to go on permanent display in the gardens of Belvedere House.

A letter from Iarnrod Eireann was read out in the chamber confirming its plans to tidy up the Millmount bridge “in early 2010”, and in the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL ) survey it was noted that Mullingar had improved from 34th to 13th in 2009.

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