€3 million regeneration project is launched for Athlone’s Church Street
Introducing the new ‘Orange Loop’ Traffic Route – Athlone’s Church Street to become one way permanently, from Thursday 15th February 2018
Athlone Municipal District today unveiled what the Church Street area of Athlone will look like following the completion of a major €3 million enhancement and regeneration project. The transformative redevelopment scheme, which is supported under the EU Urban Designated Fund, aims to revitalise the heart of Athlone’s central shopping area both aesthetically and in terms of accessibility, supporting the sustained and future growth of the town. Preliminary works have been underway since August 2017 and Church Street will become one way from Thursday 15th February 2018.
Mayor of Athlone Municipal District, Cllr Aengus O'Rourke said, “Today we are launching a very significant and exciting redevelopment of Athlone’s historic shopping district which will have far reaching benefits for our town and community. The newly enhanced, high quality area will be an inviting, welcoming space for shoppers, tourists, pedestrians and the wider local community, allowing the area to flourish as a thriving shopping, business and social district. The overall aim of the project is to reinvigorate the retail viability of the area by creating more opportunities for people to gather and spend time, contributing to the economic development of the town centre.”
Athlone Municipal District, District Manager, Pat Keating said, “Church Street provides an important link between the historic Shannon area of Athlone and our contemporary Civic Square and Athlone Town’s Shopping Centres. However, in its current state, Church Street does not function well for anyone with narrow footpaths and frequent traffic congestion. We want to ensure that the wonderful heritage and traditional character of this Architectural Conservation Area with its independent shops, cafés, restaurants and bars can flourish as a result of this significant investment.”
A new public space at Custume Place will provide a greatly improved image of Church Street when approaching from the heritage/ Shannon area of the town. This will include a plaza area complete with street furniture, bicycle stands and street lighting, as well as planters with flower beds, foliage and native trees. Natural native materials, including granite and Irish blue limestone will be used throughout.
John McGrath, President of Athlone Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, “Wider, more user friendly footpaths and more pedestrian crossings will make it safer and more comfortable for pedestrians, particularly for those with impaired mobility, the elderly and young. The new look Church Street will be more conducive to browsing and socialising, helping to boost footfall and trading by providing an attractive, more inclusive and easily accessible environment. It will also help to attract new businesses to Athlone’s industrial parks as appealing, user friendly town centres are key to foreign direct investment decisions. We believe the newly enhanced area will be a source of community pride for everyone in Athlone – a part of town that is particularly attractive, uncluttered and safe, and an enjoyable space to spend time in.”
As part of the enhancement works, Church Street will become a one way street - on a permanent basis - with traffic flow from east to west. To coincide with the introduction of this new traffic flow direction, a new ‘Orange Loop’ traffic route is in place. High visibility signage has been erected at key locations and junctions around the town’s centre and periphery, to make it as easy as possible for motorists to navigate their way around the town and to access convenient parking from every access route.
Pedestrians and traffic will continue to have access to Church Street and the surrounding area throughout the redevelopment work.
The enhancement work will continue on a phased basis for 10 months during which time every effort will be made to minimise disruption.
Mr. Keating continued, “All of the funding is in place to see this project through to completion as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are very mindful of keeping disruption to an absolute minimum for local businesses, retailers, the local community and our visitors. Our dedicated Project Liaison Officer, Declan Henehan will be available to address any queries throughout the project.”
This enhancement project is part of a wider initiative to make the heart of Athlone and the town overall a more attractive destination where people will want to live, work, visit, shop and socialise, in a safe and inclusive environment. Some other regeneration projects such as the Civic Square, the area around Athlone Castle, and in the vicinity of the Athlone Town Centre and the Sheraton Hotel, have already been successfully completed.
The progress of the Church Street enhancement project can also be followed on Westmeath County Council Facebook and Twitter pages and on the Council website. Please also check local media for project updates.
Main features of the newly enhanced area:
Church Street west end
Church Street east end
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Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 01/02/2018