Boyle 2040 – a plan to create a re-imagined, unique and interesting town centre for Boyle was launched by Minister for Communications Denis Naughten in King House on Monday evening.
The plan paves the way for significant public and private investment in the town of Boyle and is a blueprint for what the town can achieve over the next number of years.
Phase one of the plan has seen applications for just under €3m in grant aid being made last week to central government.
If successful, the funds will go towards the regeneration of the former Royal Hotel site and building and the development of a boardwalk/greenway from the Royal building to Lough Key Forest Park.
The development will see the knocking of the old restaurant and accomodation block at the former hotel and the construction of a riverside boardwalk along with a plaza style outdoor area at the rear of the building.
The two bay origional building will be retained and brought back to it’s former glory to include the origional arch from Bridge Street throught to the new plaza.
Additional phased developments are planned and will be implemented following the success of phase one.
The gathering was addressed by 6 speakers in total with Council Director of Services Martin Lydon acting as MC.
Councillor Ivan Connaughton
In welcoming the plan, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon Co Co Ivan Connaughton said the plan would be a “conversation starter between the council and land owners and developers”. He also said the plan would open up the backlands of the town centre.
Senator Frank Feighan
Senator Frank Feighan said the plan ” is a roadmap for the town, a plan which dovetails perfectly with the Government’s Project 2040 initiative. I lobbied extremely hard to ensure County Roscommon and Boyle were included in the Government’s €4 billion Capital Development Plan”.
Indeed, Boyle is one of the few towns name-checked in the Government’s blueprint document and I am delighted that today’s launch of Boyle 2040 will mark the beginning of a major rejuvenation of the town centre.
For decades, Boyle, not being a county town or regional town, suffered unduly. However, I truly believe that now with Boyle 2040, our town will – and deservedly so – get preferential treatment.
I am confident that this plan will become the cornerstone for the revival of the town and surrounding areas.
To conclude, we all know Boyle has so much to offer in terms of rich heritage and natural amenities. Indeed, we have Lough Key Forest Park, the jewel in the crown. Twenty years ago, as chairperson of Lough Key Forest Park Action Group, I successfully brought together the unique partnership of Roscommon County Council and Coillte. That partnership has transformed the Park into one of the country’s top national tourist and visitor attractions.
I believe this latest partnership between the Council, Boyle Town Team and stakeholders will be equally fruitful and productive and, as a member of Government, I look forward to supporting this plan in whatever possible” Senator Feighn concluded.
Councillor Michael Mulligan
Michael Mulligan, Chairman of Boyle Municipal District referenced the last John Healy book titled “No one shouted stop”. He said here in Boyle we have to shout start and not stop.
Eugene Cummins CEO Roscommon Co Co
Eugene Cummins CEO of Roscommon Co Co said he is very anxious to see town’s like Boyle develop and when he leaves office “Boyle will look very different”.
“There are no promises in the document but a shared vision on what the future of the town will look like in the next few years”.
“We showed our commitment to Boyle by purchasing the former Royal Hotel. We are not in the business of building hotels but we will assist any private investors who would like to build a hotel in Boyle”.
The CEO said we need as many positive messages as we can get in Boyle and hit out at those acting on rumour. “I will deal with criticism based on fact”. “What I will not deal with is negativity based on rumour” he said.
“I do not waste time and if funding is secured, work will start on phase one of the plan after Christmas”.
He also praised the united town that Boyle has become and how great it was to see so many organisations working together.
The CEO concluded with the line “Let’s get on with it – watch this space”.
Brian Nerney – Chairman Boyle Town Team
In a wide ranging speech, Chairman of Town Team Brian Nerney spoke of Minister Naughtens previous visit to Boyle on Thursday June 23rd 2016 that was “a turning point for the future of Boyle”.
“On that day you attended a meeting in St. Joseph’s Hall when you emphasized the need to ‘talk positively about your town’ and stated ‘the last thing Boyle needs is to be seen negatively online by the rest of the world’.
“Your comments were taken on board by the then fledgling Town Team who decided to progress a stage further and succeed in getting the national prominence necessary for our future plans by winning the inaugural Ireland’s Most Enterprising Town award a few months later”.
In relation to Boyle 2040, Brian said “This is a plan that is ‘town centre first’ driven as we believe that it is critically important to get people back into our town centre to create the necessary economic activity that will spur future growth”.
“We want to see any future retail development in the town centre and not out of town”
Brian went on to outline additional projects currently planned for the town including:
- Lough Key to Boyle Greenway
- Boyle Distillery in former Stewarts Mill
- Refurbishment and reinstatement of the 2nd gate Lodge in Rockingham
- The Boyle Rooms project to create accomodation in the town centre
- The refurbishment of Frybrook House for additional accommodation
- The major new development earmarked at Drumanilra Farm Kitchen
- The enhancement of the Shambles area which is progressing as planned and when completed will add greatly to this important riverside setting
- Making Boyle the county’s first cycle friendly town
- Age Friendly status for Boyle
He said he “had no doubt that the much talked about “Hotel for Boyle” will come once the astute investors sees what is planned and how an opportunity now exists, both economically and physically for such a development”.
“And while I am painting a bright future for Boyle we are very much aware that not everything has been so good to date but we can not live in the past. We can learn from it and move on which is what we are doing here today”.
“We have adhered to the self help approach and not looked for someone else to address our problems and this is the approach that I know local and central government like to see as the way forward”.
Of course none of this would be possible without the close cooperation that now exists between the various bodies in Boyle and between the local authority and the civic organisations in the town.
I am over 35 years involved in community development and never before have I seen such cooperation. It is the perfect storm.
In conclusion I would like to thank Martin Lydon, Pat Murtagh, Majella Hunt and in particular Eugene Cummins who have shown great faith in what we believe Boyle can achieve.
There have been no roadblocks only assistance from every department in the Council.
In addition, Alan O’ Connell, Brian Farragher and Emmet Humphreys from the Councils town centre planning unit have been a tremendous help and having spent the last 18 months in the town, they now know more about the history of Boyle that most other people.
Thank you also to the Town Team members who have met monthly for the last 3 years and who have remained focussed and committed despite regular criticism from some quarters.
The Team have always been of the belief that there is no point in shouting publicly until you have something to shout about.
Today we are shouting that Boyle is back on track and planning an exciting future.
I would ask for your full support for Boyle 2040 and continue as Minister Naughten said back in 2016 to talk positively about our town of Boyle and if we do this and believe – anything is possible, concluded Brian.
Minister Denis Naughten
Minister Naughten spoke of the success of the Town Team concept. He also spoke of how Kerry “talked up their towns just as we should”.
“The great thing about Boyle 2040 is that it was not stolen from another town. It was not copied and pasted. It is unique to the town and a credit to all involved”.
The Minister went on to note the amount of green space that we are lucky to have in Boyle and the need to get more people living in the town.
Before formally launching the plan her told those present to put pressure on the Oireachtas members, himself included to make Boyle 2040 become a reality”.
The attendance were each given a copy of the 120 page plan which is also available for viewing in the local area office.