On Tuesday morning, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, announced that funding of €500,000 has been allocated to a Boyle greenway project, which has been in the pipeline for quite a number of years.
The most recent announcement for Boyle sees its 2040 plan being awarded a second major funding announcement. The €500,000 is being allocated to develop a cycle corridor from Lough Key Forest Park to Boyle town centre. Chairman of Boyle Town Team, the body which has led the project along with Roscommon County Council, Brian Nerney, said: “The Team are absolutely delighted at the funding announcement."
Mr Nerney continued to say: "A lot of hard work has gone into the application by Team members and personnel in Roscommon County Council and the €500,000, which represents 80% of the total cost of the project, will be of great assistance. The Greenway is an integral part of the Team’s plan to copperfasten the links between Boyle and Lough Key Forest Park so the town can capitalise on the growing number of visitors to the Park.”
Mr Nerney explained that Boyle Town Team, in conjunction with other organisations in the town, has been working on a plan for the town for the last three years. This resulted in 'Boyle 2040' being launched in October of this year. The plan has been developed to provide a blueprint for future private and public investment in the town. He explained how the plan has come about, and expressed his delight in the vote of confidence for Boyle: "The greenway and Royal building development along with associated work form the first phase of the plan and we are delighted that central government, along with Roscommon Co Co has seen that the plan makes economic and commercial sense and have decided to back Boyle 2040. This funding is critical to allow us to develop this historic and important building in the town centre."
Last month, €200,000 was allocated to Roscommon County Council for development work in Boyle town under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the funding is to be used for the development of a boardwalk and associated work along the Boyle river.
Both funding announcements see the Boyle 2040 plan being moved forward. The plan prioritises town centre development and enhancing Boyle’s heritage attractions. It is hoped that the plan will act to assure local people and potential investors about what they will be investing in over the next 20-years. It has been produced by the town centre planning unit at Roscommon County Council, Boyle Town Team, along with various local interested parties.
Research into the development of the plan discovered that there are just 15 residents in the southern part of Boyle town and a key element of the plan is repopulating the town centre with the development of over 110 new housing units and putting a push on landlords to renovate their properties for residential use. Under the plan the town will be zoned in to three distinct town quarters; the King House quarter, the Frybrook Creative Space, and the Abbey quarter. To assist in addressing plans for the town centre depopulation, Boyle was recently one of five towns nationwide to receive €100,000 under the pilot ‘Residential Occupancy Scheme’.
The site of the former Royal hotel will also be transformed under Boyle 2040 and will form the hub for walking and cycling loops around the town, to the Boyle river, and out to Lough Key Forest park. Under the plans for the North Roscommon town, the centre of Boyle is to be transformed into a vibrant residential, tourist, and business centre over the next 20-years. The entire Boyle 2040 plan is available for the public to view through the local authority with artists renditions of what is envisaged.
In early October this year, Roscommon County Council lodged the formal planning application for the overhaul of the Royal Hotel site in Boyle. The local authority purchased the derelict hotel last year and intends to demolish the outbuildings to the side and rear of the main structure. The remainder of the premises is set to become an enterprise centre and exhibition space, while a riverside promenade will also be developed along the Boyle River. The planning application also details the development of a new civic space, with an acoustic shell, lighting, seating, and landscaping.
Another plan for the progressive town is the aim to receive 'cycle friendly status' for which work has commenced following funding from Healthy Ireland. The designation of 'Age Friendly status' is also in the pipeline.
"All the pieces of the jigsaw are coming into place for the rejuvenation of Boyle and we now await positive news on our application under the Rural Recreational Fund to allow work to commence on the old Royal building. For many years Boyle has been the forgotten child in the area but not so any more. Through unity and vision and a positive attitude by its people, the rejuvenation of Boyle has commenced with the town's future now looking brighter than ever before," the Boyle Town Team chairman concluded.
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