Cllr Finola Armstrong-McGuire.
With an over-concentration of employment and population in the larger urban areas over many decades, there is now more and more of a drive to encourage industry, workers and families out of the cities, said Cllr Finola Armstrong- McGuire (Fine Gael.
"Those who have grown their businesses here in Leitrim have been to the forefront in outlining the advantages to potential employees of living in Leitrim and its hinterland.
"I strongly believe Carrick-on-Shannon as the county town must and can be a catalyst for this attraction. As a beautiful riverside town on the N4, it is well placed geographically,” she said.
"I am proud to have helped secure almost €9m in funding under the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, funding which will give Carrick a significant opportunity to prepare for the increase in population that will occur.
"Clearly, the town centre will be congested if future planning and implementation does not take place.
"With the support of local representatives like myself, the planning department in LCC as well as commissioned experts from the private sector have taken time to look at the county town and its potential.
"Changes are proposed that will make the town centre more attractive and pedestrian friendly. These proposals follow positive changes in other towns of its size,” she said.
"For example, cars parking in town to be given priority will be those of visitors and shoppers. Incentives have also been rolled out to encourage new business ideas to take space in currently unused premises.
"With the challenges posed by online shopping and out of town retail parks, Main Street shopping will be gearing itself towards specialist shopping for locals and tourists alike. Local Craft food and specialist products in small retail units and shared spaces will succeed while food and beverage outlets will be part of the visitor experience.
"This town centre change and the process of undertaking that change presents challenges for current business owners so it is very important this reconstruction and reconfiguration period is managed meticulously by project managers.
"We should never lose sight of the fact that customers, employees and residents are the lifeblood of the town and their experience of the town must be inviting and pleasant.
"Yes, change can be difficult but it is in the management of this change that we will build a town that will remain and always be Ireland’s loveliest riverside town."