After years of false dawns and disappointment, traders in Bridge Street could finally be set for some good news with regards to long overdue funding for the area.
Local Senator John McGahon tabled a debate in the Seanad on securing Urban Regeneration Funding for Bridge Street and Linenhall Street with Minister Peter Burke while Louth County Council (LCC) has applied for millions of Euro in funding for the ambitious project.
The Fine Gael Senator told the Dundalk Leader that the regeneration would unlock “previously unimagined potential”.
“The residential units would be above the shops, it would entice people to come back, and the streetscape would make it accessible,” said John.
“The retail outlets have huge potential when we see the funding that has gone into Clanbrassil Street.
“This is a big piece of the jigsaw to bring the Bridge Street/Linenhall Street area up to the same standard as other parts of town.”
He said the €5m revamp of the Clanbrassil Street area has transformed the centre of the town and similar investment is now needed for the northern end.
John added: “It might take two or even three funding applications because Louth County Council’s vision for the area is so big.
“It will need substantial funding to get the ball rolling. Joan Martin, Frank Pentony and Catherine Duff are doing a huge amount of work on this project.
“Louth County Council sent in a massive amount of information in relation to the project in April of this year.”
The Minister for Local Government Peter Burke said a decision on funding for the project would be made before the end of the year.
Joanne Lavelle from the Bridge Street & St Nicholas Quarter Traders Group was cautiously optimistic the North end of town could finally be in line for a funding boost. The group were left bitterly disappointed in 2018 when they missed out on funding under Project Ireland 2014 and had to watch on as Clanbrassil Street and the St Nicholas Quarter were upgraded last year while Bridge Street and Linenhall Street remained untouched. According to Joanne the signs are much more positive and she is hoping that traders in Bridge St. can get an early Christmas present with an official announcement for funding for the area.
“We are much more optimistic this time around because there seems to be a lot more joined up thinking in the plans and ideas which have been submitted to Minister Peter Burke. There seems to be a real plan and a real vision for the area and the Minister is paying attention. This has been a long time coming and we have fought long and hard to get funding for an area which has been ignored for years. There are a lot of properties on the street which are derelict or have fallen into disrepair but with the right plan the potential for Bridge Street is huge.
There is a massive opportunity for social amenities and more employment and I have to say hats off to John McGahon for putting this plan in front of the Minister and doing his bit to help us. We have been let down before so we are not going to get ahead of ourselves but we are much more optimistic this time around and hopefully this is the beginning of a new era for Bridge Street,” stated Joanne.