There has been strong local welcome for the announcement of €18M in funding for the regeneration of Letterkenny town centre.
The money will go towards the revitalisation of a number of areas including the Market Square, courthouse area and Cathedral Quarter.
Deputy Joe McHugh said the funding will be a real boost to the area.
“This new investment will unlock the potential of our urban areas, making the best use of land available, promoting sensible development and compact growth, and ensuring that our urban communities are attractive and vibrant places in which to live, work and visit.
“The support from the URDF for our communities is more vital than ever with the growth in remote and blended working which means more time spent at home locally, reduced time spent commuting as well as a boost for local businesses,” said McHugh.
“Tá tábhacht mhór ag baint leis an infheistíocht seo do cheantar Leitir Ceanainn agus don iarthuaisceart ó thaobh bonneagar, córas iompair, tithíocht, turasóireacht agus áiseanna cultúrtha agus fóillíochta de.
McHugh concluded “I am aware of the work that has gone into planning and developing these transformative projects and I’m eager to see their implementation which will benefit us all here in Donegal and in the north-west region.
County councillor Ciaran Brogan said the cash injection only added to a town which is already a great place to live.
He said “This funding announcement is a huge boost of confidence in Letterkenny and the North West region which is a great destination to live, work and do business in. Letterkenny also offers a great quality of life, with many recreational facilities available.
“From the development of a new regional transport hub, to the regeneration of the Port Road, Upper Main Street, Main Street, Cathedral Quarter, Market Square and Lower Main Street, and the conversion of the Old Courthouse into a tourism/culture and enterprise building – Letterkenny is set to undergo a massive transformation,” he added.
He added that this also represents a firm commitment on behalf of Donegal County Council to the regeneration and development of the traditional town centre of Letterkenny.
He said “Local councillors have been working on this URDF over the last number of years, together with a dedicated team. So, this announcement is a just reward for everyone’s efforts.”
Cllr Brogan continued: “This is a game-changer for the future of Letterkenny’s town centre. This will be a work-in-progress project over the next number of years. To make what has been a dream for so long become a reality, it will take the combined effort of landowners, businesspeople and the local community.
“The Old Courthouse project is ready to go, with the council having acquired it a few years ago. The Old Courthouse is an historic landmark building. There are plans to create a virtual reality visiting experience, along with a managed tourist facility. I am confident that this ambitious project will breathe fresh energy into the heart of the town.
“I’d like to thank Minister O’Brien who visited Letterkenny last August, and Minister Charlie McConalogue, for their support in securing this funding at a time when it is needed most. Letterkenny is the gateway town of the North West as identified in the National Development Plan. Letterkenny is at the centre of economic development locally and has leads the way in the region,” he said.
According to the Fianna Fáil representative, a regional transport hub is a something local councillors have identified as a priority for Letterkenny.
“We have seen a huge increase in the volume of traffic in Letterkenny in recent years at peak times. It has become obvious to us that we need to have a proper regional transport hub. So, I am delighted funding is being allocated to enable us to develop a modern hub that will accommodate all transport providers. The Letterkenny Green Connect, which is also part of the investment, will improve the journey for cyclists and pedestrians,” he commented.
“There has been much talk and discussion about the Market Square. The Market Square’s future development is linked to the Cathedral Quarter project and will bring the Main Street much closer to the Cathedral Quarter. The plan is to incorporate a creative design hub with green urban parkland which will open up land along the back of Main Street.
“This project will also present us with many challenges. However, given the tough twelve months so many have come through, it’s great to have good news to celebrate. It’s been a difficult year for everyone. This announcement gives us hope and will provide new opportunities for many,” Cllr Brogan added.
Letterkenny councillor, Gerry Mc Monagle is giving a big welcome to the announcement today of 18.1 million euro’s to help regenerate the centre of Letterkenny.
He said “This funding announcement is great news for the Town and will see a massive regeneration of the main street area and the development of the Market Square and Lower Main Street.
“It is great to see the hard work of the Cathedral Quarter Committee also being recognised with funding being allocated for their project. The funding will also help with the regeneration of the Old Courthouse into a Tourism and Enterprise Centre as well as development of a site in the Town for a Transport Hub.
“All in all this is a great news story and is testimony to the hard work of all those involved in bringing it to this stage. I would like to acknowledge the good work of Letterkenny Regeneration Unit.
“Chamber of Commerce and my colleagues on Letterkenny Municipal District who have worked really hard over these last couple of years to make this a reality. I look forward now to the work beginning and the transformation of Letterkenny to begin.”
The Mayor of Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District, Cllr Donal Coyle said this investment will enable our ongoing regeneration objectives to transform Letterkenny town centre to an attractive, vibrant and healthier place.
He added “Critically, it will invest in increasing footfall, bringing more people in to use our town centre on a day-to-day basis, as a visiting destination, for work and business and importantly as a viable place for homes. The planned regeneration measures are now more essential than ever as a key part of the recovery of our town centre in a post-Covid and a post Brexit world. I want to thank Ministers O’Brien and McConalogue, on behalf of the Council and community, for the URDF funding which will help to realise our ambition for the historic town centre of Letterkenny.’
Liam Ward, Director of Community Development and Planning Services, said the council is pleased that their application for funding to re-energise and connect Letterkenny’s historic core has been successfully received under the URDF.
He said “Letterkenny 2040 Phase 1’ is a transformational urban regeneration project of scale providing for a series of inter-related regeneration measures gravitating along Main Street in the historic town centre. This project is a strategic step in Letterkenny’s longer term regeneration goal to transform the core of the Regional Cross Border Centre as a great place for people and business as well as a place where public life can thrive.”
He added “This investment is critical alongside our work to prepare a Regeneration Strategy for the town centre that will establish a roadmap for how we imagine it’s future over the next 20 years together with a pipeline of further regeneration projects and priorities.’
The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Rena Donaghey welcomed the announcement and said this is a very important endorsement by government of the need and importance of investing in Letterkenny, our biggest town which is part of the Northwest City Region. The €18m investment will bring significant improvements to Letterkenny and compliment the many other initiatives being promoted by the Council in the wider region.’
The Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter committee has expressed their delighted with the Urban Regeneration and Development Funding,
The package will cement Letterkenny’s Cathedral Quarter as the cultural and tourist heartbeat of the town.
That’s according to the Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Committee.
Laurie McGee says “This is an historic announcement for Letterkenny’s most historic area. A massive milestone in regeneration efforts has been reached.”
“We thank Minister O’Brien and heartily congratulate the County Council on their successful application for this funding. Both the council and the government have bought into our vision. Our goal of turning the Cathedral Quarter into a destination right in the heart of Letterkenny to attract visitors and as a place for locals to enjoy is rapidly becoming reality.”
Laurie McGee added “ Just seven years ago a public meeting was held to address concerns about the dereliction in streets surrounding the Cathedral. Our campaign has grown from that meeting. It is community based and has a DIY ethos. Already we have seen a significant transformation. Buildings have been restored. Landmark murals have been created. Businesses in the area have flourished. New residents have moved in and Letterkenny’s Cathedral Quarter has become a brand attracting tourists to the town. This funding injection will accelerate that regeneration process
“We look forward to working closely with local authorities developing these exciting projects and we would like to play a significant role.”
“Much of what is now happening was envisaged many years before by our Committee member Jim Lynch. We would like to pay tribute to his tireless campaigning. At times Jim was a lone voice but now the vision he set out many years ago can now come to fruition.
“It’s also our hope that what we have achieved can inspire other regeneration projects elsewhere.
“But we recognise we could not have got to where we are today without significant backing from DCC, local elected representatives and many others.
“Most of all we’d like to thank the public for their constant support and encouragement.
“Our committee believes in using the past to create a better future. Today that looks brighter than ever for Letterkenny’s Cathedral Quarter.”