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Multi-million Athenry and Tuam projects to proceed with detailed design stage

Galway County Council has confirmed that the preparation of detailed designs for two multi-million-euro renewal projects in Athenry and Tuam town centres has commenced.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D. this week announced an allocation of €6,075,518 for the Athenry Public Realm Enhancement Project and an additional €3,679,200 for the upgrade of Tuam Town Hall under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF). Both projects include the development of County Galway’s first community hubs under the Department’s Connected Hubs initiative, offering hot-desks and co-working spaces and promoting the growing trend of remote working across the county.

The Local Authority said the developments will proceed to the tender stage once detailed designs have been completed. Part 8 planning approval was secured for both projects in 2023.

Cllr. Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway described the developments as “transformational” for Athenry and Tuam.

He continued, “This funding announcement effectively gives the green light to Galway County Council to immediately progress both projects,” he added. “The public realm enhancement works in Athenry will substantially improve accessibility in the town centre, and will deliver an attractive and vibrant streetscape befitting a town the size and economic importance of Athenry. Likewise, the proposed renovation and repurposing of the historic Tuam Town Hall will bring it back into community use and preserve it for future generations.”

Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council commented, “Athenry’s public realm is important to the socio-economic vitality of the town, providing for social interaction, movement and access, attracting visitors and tourists, and enhancing the town environment. Through an intensive public engagement process, an agreed vision for the public realm has been devised and we look forward to delivering a project that gives pedestrians priority, and creates a safer, greener, and more attractive town with improved linkages to several key historical landmarks.”

Speaking about the Tuam Hall project, Mr. Conneally said, “Originally built in 1857, the Town Hall has particular social and historical importance for the town. Once operational, it will provide space for numerous users in Tuam and the surrounding areas and act as an attraction for visitors to the town.”

Outlining the scope and scale of the Athenry Public Realm Enhancement Project, Director of Services Liam Hanrahan said, “Phase One of the project is the first step in unlocking the potential of and stimulating private sector activity within Athenry town centre. The project will involve the reuse and repurposing of an important long-term vacant town centre building alongside the total regeneration and respectful modernising of the public realm of Athenry’s historic town core in order to create a more vibrant and prosperous town centre.”

The proposed layout of the Athenry Public Realm Enhancement Project and Community Hub.

He added, “The Athenry Community and Enterprise Hub will coordinate and augment the existing business support services, co-located with publicly accessible meeting room and cultural space. The outcome will be the provision of a comprehensive offer to local SMEs which includes professional mentoring opportunities, networking opportunities and access to space for working and meeting.”

Commenting on the project planned for Tuam, Mr. Hanrahan stated, “The building has been partially vacant for many years and the proposed new community hub and renovation of the building represents a sustainable new use for this historic landmark in the heart of the town at Market Square. Our engagement with Elected Members and the local community has informed us of the strong desire to re-purpose the building into a community-facing amenity, open to those who need it.”

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) is a key capital investment scheme which directly supports the objectives of Our Rural Future and the Town Centre First policy. The RRDF supports projects that have the potential to revitalise rural towns and villages in line with the Town Centre First Policy through planned and sustainable regeneration that will drive greater economic activity and footfall, address vacancy and dereliction and ensure the reuse of heritage and other existing buildings and provide the necessary facilities and infrastructure in settlements, which will assist in attracting people to live, work and invest in rural areas.

(Source: Dunphy Communications)

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