Ambitious plans to create a civic and cultural quarter for Mullingar were unveiled this week.
The area, which will centre around the County Buildings and Áras an Mhuillinn, would be designed to allow people to gather in public spaces, for pedestrians to move freely, and to improve links between this area and the town centre.
The council’s director of services David Hogan said the aim is to create “an attractive and vibrant civic and cultural quarter in Mullingar” which would be “a destination for cultural activities, art and creativity”.
The plan includes measures such as paving the area in front of the Arts Centre to allow more space for pedestrians and encourage traffic to slow down; the addition of street furniture and trees to make the area surrounding the council buildings more pleasant; the paving of the Market Lane area; and the creation of a “multifunctional space” for outdoor activities and functions at the entrance to the County Buildings.
“The county buildings are designed around people driving, and not around pedestrians. There is lots of concrete, and it is given over to the car. We want to create pedestrianised areas in front of the county buildings,” said Mr Hogan.
He cited Westport as an example of a town where “pedestrians have greater ownership of the landscape”.
Plans for Mullingar’s civic and cultural quarter will go out for public consultation in due course, and are likely to be introduced on a phased basis.