PREPARATION of detailed designs for two multi-million euro renewal projects has commenced in Athenry and Tuam.

Galway County Council have confirmed the preparation of the designs is underway. Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys (FG) TD 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.

An artist’s impression of the interior of Tuam Town Hall.

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

Cllr. Liam Carroll (FG), Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway described the developments as “transformational” for Athenry and Tuam. He stated, “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 noted, “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”.

Athenry Town Centre.

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”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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