Leitrim County Council

Plans to turn Ballinamore into a “mini Smithfield”

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News Reporter

Plans to turn Ballinamore into a “mini Smithfield”

Ground works were completed by Leitrim County Council at the site of the Old Railway Station / St Felim's Secondary School in Ballinamore recently. Photo by Eunan Sweeney

Ballinamore will be the envy of the county if funding is secured for a million euro stunning transformation of the old Railway Station / St Felim’s School site at the top of town.

Under the Rural Regeneration Fund, Leitrim County Council is applying for €1.2m which includes a refurbishment of the Railway Station building and Carriage building as well as artistic outdoor work.

Director of Services, Vincent Dwyer told the Municipal District meeting the vision is for a “mini Smithfield” in Ballinamore.

The council wish to fit the old Railway Station as a digital hub which may be used as office space or to facilitate a suitable digital business. The carriage building will be transformed into a youth development centre with an art exhibition space and art workshops.

In the outdoor area the council has plans to create a big band stand and use decorative stone to trace the old railway lines. The council said their plans make reference to the fact that St Felim’s grounds could potentially be the headquarters for the Belturbet to Mohill Railway Greenway.

The designs were a collaboration between Leitrim County Council and Ballinamore Community Council.

The application which must be finalised by the end of this week will compete for funding against Manorhamilton and other towns, villages and agencies across the state.

Carrick-on-Shannon also has a million euro project seeking funding under the Urban Regeneration section.

Mr Dwyer said Ballinamore Community Council have been working with Liam Scollan to see if a digital hub would be worthwhile and may help create more jobs in the town.

When the area is completed “markets may be considered” on the large outdoor space. The application will go through a council planning part 8 and will be ready for works next year if funding is successful.

Councillors were told if the project is not successful through this funding stream, the council will apply under other streams.

The council are hoping that “the early bird will catch the worm” as other councils may not be ready with applications in time.

There was very little time allowed in preparation for these applications, but a lot of detail required.

Last week members in Manorhamilton heard every resource in the council was being put into these important applications.

The Ballinamore plan was welcomed by all local councillors and the hard work by the Council and the Ballinamore Community Council was complimented.

Cllr John McCartin informed the meeting that it is believed locally that the old train turntable is buried underground and it would be wonderful to resurrect it and maybe use it as a bandstand.

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