Ardee can once again benefit from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in 2017, building on the €72,250 funding obtained from the new initiative last year according to Fergus O’Dowd.
This week, the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs announced that the scheme was returning this year as part of the government’s Action Plan for Rural Development. In total across the country, €20 million will be made available to towns and villages. €10 million was available last year.
The scheme is specifically aimed at small rural communities – towns and villages with populations under 10,000. In Louth, Ardee qualifies for funding, as does Collon, Tallanstown, Castlebellingham, Dunleer, Reaghstown and more.
The funding is provided to local authorities nationwide and community groups here can apply to Louth County Council for grants which can range anywhere from €20,000 to a €100,000 maximum. Last year, Ardee Tidy Towns and the Ardee Traders & Business Association joined together to obtain €72,250 for new signage around the town, improvements to roundabouts and new pieces to be installed at the Fair Green in Ardee.
Additionally, Reaghstown was granted €42,500 for their new playground at the Westerns GFC ground in the village.
Speaking about the announcement of further funding available to Towns and Villages in Louth, Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said this will bring tangible benefits to people and revitalise rural communities in County Louth.
“The funding announced this week by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, is great news for rural Ireland and I strongly encourage Louth County Council to apply.
“The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential, and is part of a package of national and local support measures to rejuvenate rural towns and villages throughout Ireland,” O’Dowd said.
“Up to 300 towns and villages will benefit from funding under the 2017 Town and Village Renewal Scheme, which will be made available through local authorities over the next 15 months to support rural regeneration.
“A number of towns and villages across the county were badly affected by the recession of recent years and part of Fine Gael’s Action Plan will review planning legislation to allow the change of use of vacant commercial properties in rural towns and villages. I hope to see this having an impact in towns and villages such as Ardee, Dunleer, Castlebellingham and others as they are the heartbeat of the county.
According to the Deputy, funding for a limited number of projects to the cost of €200,000 will also be considered, providing they give excpetional economic benefit to an area.