€263k for town regeneration project
Multi-purpose digital enterprise and tourism hub planned for Belturbet
Over €263,000 in funding has been announced for Belturbet, aimed at delivering a major regeneration plan for the erneside town.
The funding will be used to kick-start the Belturbet Town Regeneration Masterplan- which is targetted at putting in place the ground work for a multi-purpose digital enterprise and tourism hub, as well as the development of the heritage railway visitor attraction.
Making the announcement this morning, Minister for Rural and Community Development, local TD Heather Humphreys, said she was “delighted” to support the two-part landmark project.
The funding is part of a much larger €21.5 million investment nationwide under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. It also ensures a continuing ready-made pipeline of projects which can be progressed in the future with the support of the Fund or other funding streams.
“I know that this project will drive economic growth and footfall and bring in more visitors and tourists alike,” she said of the Belturbet plan. “Today’s announcement is proof of my strong commitment to supporting our rural communities in Cavan both economically and socially.
“When completed, projects like these in Belturbet will leave a lasting difference on the families who live here and I personally, as a local Minister and TD, am really proud to deliver on this investment.”
Also welcoming the investment was Fianna Fail TD, Brendan Smith. He said the project, at an overall cost of €263,700, will assist in attracting more visitors to the area, and also help address the issue of vacant buildings.
“This funding is a key part of this Government’s rural regeneration programme where there is a clear commitment to bring much needed additional economic activity to towns such as Belturbet.
“This funding will enable the preparation of plans for the development of a multi purpose digital enterprise and tourism hub and for the further development of the heritage railway visitor attraction,” said Deputy Smith.
Locally, Independent Councillor for the Belturbet area, Brendan Fay, thanked the “hard-working members of Cavan County Council for making the successful application for funding, and for having in place the necessary resources to draw down this major government grant aid.
“I am over the moon to bring you the wonderful news,” he posted.
Fellow County Councillor, Fianna Fail's John Paul Feeley meanwhile stated: "This funding is essential for Belturbet which has for a number of years had many vacant properties. It is also a town with immense potential. This will build on the very hard work of the local community who have engaged closely and constructively with Cavan County Council over long years in the restoration of the Railway Station, the redevelopment of the Town Hall, and more recently through Project Belturbet."
He noted: "In every town and village in our county there is a need for investment and improvement which collaborating with the local community must be led by Cavan County Council. The work done to date on this application for Belturbet is an example of that commitment."
The new funding will be a continuation of the hard work of members of Belturbet Heritage Railway (BHR) who already invested significantly in the site over the past 12 months, laying a number of tracks at the former station.
Considerable work has already been undertaken to transform the Belturbet Railway Station complex since it was purchased in 1994, with the latest to include a Velorial Rail as well as running a narrow gauge railway engine.
Also, last year, Cavan County Council secured almost €200,000 under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme to provide a new service block at Belturbet Marina on Willow Avenue, and to progress Phase 2 of redeveloping the new Belturbet Youth Hub at the former fire station on Holborn Hill.
Deputy Niamh Smyth (FF) also added her congratulations to the people of Belturbet saying it was "terrific" news.
"Like a lot of border towns, Belturbet has suffered over the years with the closure of businesses and depopulation but this marks a turning point for the community who have worked relentlessly to bring new life and new initiatives to the town.
"Belturbet has so much to offer - River Erne, Turbet Island and the Railway Heritage Centre to name but a few of its unique attractions. Today's announcement enables Cavan County Council and the local community to begin a process of re-establishing the integrity of the town centre and nurturing and building on local amenities to bring new life back into our town centres," said a delighted Deputy Smyth.
Funding for Monaghan
In neighbouring Co Monaghan, €330,760 has been approved in respect of the continued restoration of the Workhouse site in Carrickmacross to help deliver a community hub.
Some €732,262 under the Rural Development Programme will firther develop plans for the planned expansion of Lough Egish Food Park and the provision of necessary infrastructure.