FUNDS WILL HELP POL­ISH SOME OF THE RU­RAL GEMS IN CO WICK­LOW’S CROWN

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

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.

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