€3M boost for Arts Centre and Canal Greenway but no money for Harbour Plan
4th December 2018
TULLAMORE received a major boost this week with the announcement that €3 million has been allocated to the town under the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.
The money will be used to part finance the controversial Street Enhancement Scheme, the long-awaited Arts Centre and the Grand Canal Greenway.
But it appears that there will be no funding for the multi-million euro plan for the transformation of Tullamore Harbour, a spokesperson for Waterways Ireland confirmed to the Tribune.
Offaly County Council will meet with Department Officials in the coming weeks to detail what elements are to be funded under the €3m allocation.
Tom Shanahan, Director of Services with the council, said an application for projects totaling €8.6m was made, 25 per cent of which would be provided through match funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.
The money was to part finance Street Enhancement works, along with the urban section of the Grand Canal Greenway and upgrading of adjacent streets.
In addition it is hoped that elements of Tullamore Arts Centre will be funded.
Local Dail Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has listed a range of projects where she says the money will be directed.
* The provision of a new pedestrian bridge linking Tullamore Community Arts Centre, Bridge Centre and Millennium Square.
* The construction of the Grand Canal greenway from Convent View to the 28th lock where a pedestrian bridge will be built.
* The enhancement of the canal waterfront boardwalk and underpass at Kilbeggan bridge.
The construction of a segregated 2.5 – 3m of walkway/cycleway through the urban area.
She says provision is to be made for formal access and refurbishment of an existing playground at Connolly Park along with a new bicycle parking stand.
Deputy Corcoran Kennedy commended the partnership of Offaly County Council, Tullamore Community Arts Centre Ltd, Waterways Ireland and Tullamore and District Chamber of Commerce for the successful application.
She added that there will be further opportunities for projects in Offaly to apply for future funding.
Local Fianna Fail TD, Barry Cowen also welcomed the announcement of €3 million in funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.
The President of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce, Ann Starling said: ''It's a brilliant news for Tullamore. The business people are thrilled. Tullamore will be like a new town and hopefully it will attract more business and industry here.''
Local Councillor Tommy McKeigue also said it was very good news for the town. He especially welcomed extra funding for the town enhancement project. ''We hadn't enough money to cover the whole town and we would have wound up with half a job there. The rest of the grand canal quarter can also be finished.'' Cllr McKeigue said it wasn't clear yet what way the money will be divided up but he added that it will provide employment opportunities for those working on the various projects. ''It will be a great money spinner for the town,'' he said.
The Chairman of Tullamore Community Arts Centre, Desmond Doyle, said he is hoping to know more after a Board meeting which is due to take place tomorrow [Thursday November 29].
In the meantime he welcomed a letter in the Tullamore Tribune last week in support of an Arts centre for Tullamore.
Councillor Declan Harvey, Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Municipal District, stated that ''this funding is a top-up towards the Tullamore street enhancement plan and the Arts Centre.
He stressed the council is hopeful that additional funding will follow in the near future and the council has ''made applications for funding under various schemes going forward.''
The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund was established to enhance and support the compact growth and sustainable development of large urban centres like Tullamore.
The multi-million euro Urban Regeneration and Development Fund is a multi-annual fund that will run until 2027.