Roscrea Enhancement Plan making steady progress

Thursday, 13 July 2017

ROSCREA'S Enhancement Plan will see several areas in the centre of the town be developed in terms of aesthetic beauty and creating a welcoming speace for visitors and residents of the town.

The Committee behind the project recently held their quarterly meeting and Chairperson, Brian King gave several positive updates on the projects that feed either directly or indirectly into the plan.

Brian acknowledged the work of the enhancement committee members, who he said "go about their business quietly and diligently."

"It can be frustrating for members at times but that the committee has come to realise that unfortunately very little funding can be put in place unless detailed and professional plans are documented to support funding requests for many projects," the Chairman explained.

"Putting these plans in place takes a lot of time and lobbying, as formulating the plans themselves also involves significant costs. We're confident the people of Roscrea and surrounding areas will start to see the efforts of all this work come to fruition in the not too distant future," he said.

Brian said he believes the Council know they need to "renew their energies and focus on Roscrea."

"Council officials such as John Jones and Marion Carey, who serve on the Enhancement Committee, are very committed to helping our town and they need the ongoing support of the elected representatives and all stakeholders if we are to make serious inroads," he said.

Brian said the area faces many additional challenges, most notably employment opportunities and he encouraged organisations such as the local Chamber of Commerce to fight for the establishment of the proposed new Enterprise Centre.

The Chairman said that at present the focus is on the Roscrea Traffic Management Plan, which he sees as a catalyst for future development in the town and one on which several of submissions were made by the public and local businesses.

Brian thanked Michael Madden from Roscrea Chamber Of Commerce, who attended the recent Enhancement Committee meeting and made a number of suggestions about how best to implement the plan.

"A key deliverable of the traffic management plan will be the redevelopment of Market Square and we have been assured that money has already been put aside to commence this work, most likely in the first quarter of 2018.

"The work will involve the widening of footpaths, new lights, a roundabout and possible new seating areas in the vicinity of the square. Once that work is completed the Traffic Management Plan will then focus on Castle Street, then Main Street and then the numerous other projects that form part of the overall plan," the Enhancement Chairman explained.

Preliminarily drawings for the Gantly Road area, following extensive public consultation, are currently being put together and funding will be sought to commence delivering upon the plan and when asked about the plaza area, Brian said that Marion Carey has engaged the youth of Roscrea to help come up with ideas for the development of what they see as a key area in the town.

"The youth will be involved in the preliminary plans for the area and people will be able to give broader views once the plans are available for public consultation. It is envisaged that an application will be made in 2018 for funding through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and will involve plenty of consultation with the relevant property owners," he said.

Brian said that at the recent Enhancement Meeting those that served on the committee to help push the Roscrea to Birr Greenway said that unfortunately progress could not be made at this stage despite endless hours of meetings and lobbying.

Brian said he feels a similar route between Roscrea and Birr would have yielded great benefits and that a greenway would have not only help the economics of the area, but would also have had huge benefits in terms of social and cultural linkages and development.

"The greenway could have opened up opportunities for further development such as continuing the trail on further to Clonmacnoise and eventually possibly opening up a pilgrim trail between Monaincha and Clonmacnoise.

"Roscrea has every right to be brave and to think big and we remain hopeful the concept of the Greenway between Roscrea and Birr and possibly beyond will be something that might raise it's head again at some future date," he said.

In the meantime, Brian said that Cathal McNicholas was examining a number of walking routes in the Roscrea area and if any of those projects come to fruition they will be of enormous benefit to the area and will be a lasting legacy of this generation of Roscrea people.

Speaking on the Tidy Towns projects, Brian thanked Tidy Town members Eileen Doherty and Dick Conroy for serving on the Enhancement Committee and pointed out there are many overlapping projects between the two groups.

Brian said that it was his understanding that the Council would look at providing support for a clean up day some Saturday which would be led by the Tidy Towns and would hopefully get more business representatives, clubs and societies involved with the great work that they do.

In relation to the 2017 Roscrea Enhancement Awards, Brian said that application forms would be available soon and judging will take place in August.


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