Cllr. Bobby O’Connell (FG) has just announced that several Tidy Towns groups in the area are to benefit from a cash windfall under the ‘Public Area Enhancement Scheme’ – under which an allocation of €90,000 has been marked for Kerry.
The Castleisland group will receive €2,250 as will Farranfore while Currow’s wild flower meadow project will receive €1,125 and Scartaglin will benefit to the tune of €975 for ongoing work there.
The scheme was announced by the Minister for Environment, Community, and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D. in March and he set aside a figure of €2.975 million for the scheme ahead of the busy summer tourist season.
The Minister said, “2014 has been a challenging year so far for local authorities in terms of managing their public spaces due to the exceptionally inclement weather conditions we have experienced and I know that towns and cities across the country will be hoping for another very successful tourist season this year, following on from the success of Gathering Ireland in 2013. This additional, once-off fund is being provided to support local authorities’ efforts to prepare and maintain their public areas in an effort to maximise the economic benefits that can flow from increased visitors to their towns, cities and counties.”
The Minister suggested that examples of work that might be undertaken could include additional support for community groups involved in the SuperValu TidyTowns competition, improvement works to public parks and recreational walking areas, cleaning and tidying of older graveyards or the cleaning and making safe of derelict buildings.
The funding has been allocated to all city and county councils on a proportional basis and the Minister asked that, “wherever possible, local authorities should undertake work in co-operation with community-based groups.” All work undertaken should be additional to work already planned and must also be supplemented with 25% matching funding from the local authority.
Cllr. O’Connell is hopeful that the local allocation will help to clear up the ‘Approach Roads’ eyesore on the site of the old garage on the Limerick Road ahead of the first, looming visit by the 2014 Tidy Towns adjudicators.