A graphic design image from Westmeath County Council as to what the revamped former O'Neill's site might look like.

Plan to extend Athlone's Church Street revamp

Westmeath County Council is pushing ahead with plans to extend the street regeneration scheme at Church Street to other key parts of Athlone’s centre.

The next phase of the streetscape work would include Mardyke Street, part of Sean Costello Street, to the junction at Dunnes Stores, and Pump Lane.

The area involved is contained in a roughly triangular block that extends from the main entrance to the Athlone Towncentre Shopping Centre development to the former O’Neill’s site.

Last year, the council was provisionally allocated funding of €750,000 through the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund to help secure technical assistance on the proposal.

The council has estimated the entire project could cost some €5m.

Now, the council is inviting tenders from a civil engineering led multi-disciplinary urban design, engineering and other special consultancy service team to assist in developing the plans.

And it says the project could potentially pave the way for a future private investment partner to develop a mixed-use development on the former O’Neill’s site in the centre of Athlone which the council revealed last week that it was in the final stages of purchasing.

The council says the work of the design team it is seeking to engage will eventually lead to a further funding application to Government to “progress a landmark mixed-use development combining compact urban living with retail on this prominent site with a development partner unlocking private investment.”

It says the prominent site presents huge potential as it is located at a key access point to the town and with the potential to facilitate a development fronting three streets.

In relation to extending the streetscape work, the council said the next phase would “regenerate a strategic and high-profile track from Church Street, along Mardyke Street and Sean Costello Street to the junctions at Pump Lane.”

 

A Westmeath County Council view of what the regenerated O'Neill's site might look like.

It is designed to build on the recent €4m Church Street Enhancement scheme which it says “was considered as the starting point for a wider stimulus initiative to make the urban core of Athlone a more attractive destination where people will choose to live, work, visit, shop and socialise in a safe

Meanwhile, Athlone Mayor Frankie Keena welcomed news that Westmeath County Council is still focused on progressing three Urban Regeneration projects for Athlone, including the extension of the streetscape plan to the Mardyke St, Sean Costello St and Pump Lane areas.

The council has made significant progress in acquiring the site of the former O’Neill’s pub and is going through the legalities, Cllr Keena said.

By acquiring this site the council will then be able to provide improved pedestrian and vehicular movements at this key junction in the town and at the same time to enhance the location from a visual perspective, he stated.

The second regeneration project include the Loughaniskan site beside the Department of Social Welfare offices whereby it is planned to develop this area for mixed use covering office, retail and some residential.

The third project takes in the Connaught side of town covering such works as enhancement of the footpaths and road from Main Street down through Connaught St. It will also include a comprehensive programme of works on the Canal and the Ranelagh areas.

“It is so important even during these difficult times that we keep focused on the delivery of these three major regeneration projects for the town as they will contribute enormously to the economic development of Athlone,” concluded Mayor Keena.

 

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