FUNDS WILL HELP POLISH SOME OF THE RURAL GEMS IN CO WICKLOW’S CROWN
THE granting of funding to four projects in Baltinglass, Blessington Rathnew and Ballinaclash will greatly help to enhance all four communities. Local representatives say the money will allow locals to make the most of amenities and facilities that are already there.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council Edward Timmins has welcomed the allocation of €88,0000 to Baltinglass to provide a Digital Hub offering a ‘Hot Desk’ facility for small businesses in the town’s courthouse building.
‘The courthouse is a unique building and it is unused at the moment so with this money allocated we can enhance the facility and provide a digital hub in it,’ said Cllr Timmins.
‘Secondly we want to have a facility to offer tourist information, in particular information about the hill forts that surround Baltinglass.’
He said that Baltinglass is the hill fort capital of Ireland with as many as nine hill forts in the vicinity of the town.
‘Very few people know about these hill forts so it would be great to have a tourist information area within the courthouse building to give information and details on this aspect to encourage more tourists to the area,’ said Cllr Timmins.
‘Using the courthouse building will bring it back to life,’ he said. ‘And I do hope more and more community groups apply next year for funding as Wicklow failed to get the amount of funding it should have gotten.’
Meanwhile, Cllr Gerry O’Neill has said the €56,000 allocated to the Blessington Greenways will do a lot to enhance and improve some of it.
‘There’s about 7km of the greenway which has a bad surface on it and I have been calling for the greenway to be more wheelchair and buggy friendly so this allocation will go some way to help improve it,’ he said.
He said the greenway is being well used by people who take to it to walk several kilometres for exercise and fresh air.
‘It’s a super facility for the area and the more we can enhance it the better it will be,’ he added.
The €100,000 allocated to Rathnew will help with the planned vision to turn the former St Joseph’s Girls National School into a hub serving the growing community. It is hoped the building can provide a youth centre, senior citizens activities room, library, heritage room, allotment/ community garden for the neighbouring Men’s Shed and a small innovative hub for start-up businesses, arts and crafts.
Welcoming the allocation, which is a joint venture between the community, the Catholic Parish Council and Wicklow County Council, Cllr John Snell said: ‘While the list is long, the need is urgent so I look forward to continuing the ambitious plans to secure the community infrastructure to service our people for generations to come.’
The €21,000 allocated for Ballinaclash will go towards street furniture, an information panel and the upgrade and development of the walkway to Ballykine graveyard, which is of historical interest.
Welcoming the allocation, Cllr Pat Kennedy said: ‘Ballinaclash village has suffered from a lack of investment in public infrastructure over the last number of years. I have been working with the community in Ballinaclash and will continue to do so to make sure that small communities like Ballinaclash don’t get left behind.’
According to Minister for State Andrew Doyle, community schemes like the Towns and Villages Renewal Scheme instil a sense of community pride.
‘I would encourage more community groups to participate in future schemes and further allocations,’ said Minister Doyle.
Cllr Edward Timmins
Cllr Pat Kennedy.
Cllr Gerry O’Neill.