29 Sept 2022

FEATURE: Work on Manorhamilton's Public Realm Improvement Scheme to start this Summer

Manorhamilton public realm works must not disrupt businesses reopening after lockdown says Gurn

An artists impression of the completed works

The Work on Manorhamilton's multi-million euro Public Realm Improvement Scheme is set to being this Summer. This project owes its foundation to a number of proposals put forward over the last 20 years for improving the heart of Manorhamilton.
All the work carried out during this period helped to inform the Manorhamilton REDZ plan, which identified priority actions needed to create a sustainable and attractive town for the future.
This led to the creation of the Public Realm Improvement Scheme which incorporates the provision of additional car parking as well as the enhancement of access for the existing employment lands on Park Road.
The project also focuses on the heart of the historic town, concentrating on Main Street, the backlands to the Sligo Road and Sráid Sheáin Mhic Dhiarmada.

The scheme aims to act as a catalyst for the economic rejuvenation of the town centre in the short to medium term and also forms the basis for its sustainable redevelopment in the longer term.
Manorhamilton Chamber of Commerce spokesperson, Scott Coombs, points to the groundwork carried out by the urban planner and architect as part of the REDZ project as critical in identifying the potential of Manorhamilton.
“This helped us to see that the raw materials for the broader vision to reunify the town split by the Sligo road, were there, and also helped us to see what was needed,” he acknowledges.
The Public Realm Improvement Scheme is the next step in addressing this.
Enhancement of the existing public spaces such as Main Street, Market Square and Church Street/The Big Brae, are central to the plan and coupled with increased pedestrian use and the supported re-purposing of existing vacant buildings on the Main Street are all important elements.
The idea is to make Manorhamilton a more attractive place to work and live.
Scott says that this sort of reinvigoration of the town is all the more important following the multiple lockdowns seen following the arrival of Covid-19.
“The pandemic was a bit of a gut punch for the town,” he admits, but “there is also a growing sense of renaissance, of renewal in Manorhamilton, despite the pandemic.”

He says that it is important to acknowledge the difficulties faced by the business sector in not just Manorhamilton but around Ireland.
“There are businesses that have not been able to survive. We cannot ignore that, but we can work to ensure that Manorhamilton has a strong future,” he says.
Scott points out that in the 1990s Manorhamilton had enjoyed a re-emergence with the creation of the Organic Centre, the Glens Centre and the Leitrim Sculpture Centre amongst other amenities, noting “here we are (today) doing the same thing”.
He points out that the Public Realm Improvement Scheme in Manorhamilton ”will be one of the most visible and most galvanising projects” in the town.
However he stresses this is just one facet of the projects set to become a reality in the town.
“There is a strong sense of renaissance in Manorhamilton. This is about not giving up on what has been achieved in the past few years and continuing to do the groundwork.

“The things you see in the Public Realm Improvement Scheme, or the Greenway, or the opening of the new carpark, these things don’t have the night before the ribbon is cut,” he points out.
“They happen on a night in the middle of winter at a kitchen table, when people are tired and under pressure.
“We cannot forgot the work that has gone into bringing things like this to Manorhamilton.
“There is a strong sense of doggedness behind each project. People have worked tirelessly to make these projects happen.
“Places like the W8, ManorHUB, things like the VillagePod app, they are all helping this process of renewal,” he points out.
“There is so much potential in Manorhamilton but the pathways to developing the town are hidden. This project will help to address that.”

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