The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, and the Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, today announced €74 million in funding for five regeneration projects in the South-East. Kilkenny City will benefit from €18.10 million – €11.46 million for the Abbey Quarter and €6.64 million towards the Kilkenny City Centre Enhanced Liveability Project, which is focussed on upgrading and improving the public realm and mobility/connectivity on High Street / Kieran Street / Rose Inn and the Medieval Lanes in between, along with upgrading the public space between Carnegie Library and Butler Gallery.
Making the announcement Minister O’Brien said:
“The projects are all about making areas more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest. Compact growth was the focus of this round of URDF funding. The projects the Government is funding are geared towards sustainable growth of our urban settlements, supported by jobs, houses, services and amenities, as envisaged by the National Planning Framework. As well as compact growth, the fund supports our other national planning aims. In that sense the URDF is a unique approach to Government funding. Whilst many Government-funded programmes are for specific types of projects, the URDF funds a diverse set of integrated projects with integrated aims.”
Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, added:
“Funding for the ‘Enhanced Liveability’ and Abbey Quarter public realm projects demonstrates our support for Kilkenny’s ambition to become a ’10 minute’ city and where ‘placemaking’ is creating a new vibrancy within the historic centre. We see the URDF as a key catalyst in our ‘Town Centres First’ policy approach, to realise a vibrant and durable future for our unique Irish towns.”
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness says he’s “delighted to welcome the news for Kilkenny. This funding will enable the Council to progress the St Francis Park and Street project, which in turn enables the Abbey Quarter Partnership to plan for the phased development of buildings on the site in accordance with Master Plan adopted by the Council. We should see construction start on the Park and Street by this time next year “.
Colette Byrne, Chief Executive outlined that “in addition to St Francis Park and Street the funding will be used to progress plans for the:
- Construction of a boardwalk at Greensbridge, linking the River Nore riverside walk with the new Riverside Linear Park at the Abbey Quarter and onwards to the Canal Walk. It will facilitate and encourage cycling and walking to work from the adjacent residential areas. Design and planning for this project will be progressed in this year.
- Re-purposing two maturation vats. The vats are an important part of the sites brewing history and it will be good to see them get a new lease of life hopefully adding to our cultural infrastructure.
- Tea House – restoration and repurposing of the second smaller tea house as a public amenity. The renovation and repurposing of the larger tea house, closest to Bateman Quay, was included in funding under Phase 1 but works were postponed pending the completion of the Riverside Park and skate board park. With this announcement work on both two tea houses should be complete in the current year.
- Further refurbishment of the squash courts to serve as a cultural hub. The outcome of the appeal for the temporary car park is required before we can complete this project as access is required, but it is good to have funding in place”.
The Council confirmed that the City Centre Liveability Project will part-fund:
- High Street and Rose Inn Street – improve the public realm and introduce mobility/smarter travel options and shared spaces;
- Ormonde Street – upgrade the streetscape and public realm to include provision of a new one-way system;
- St Kieran’s Street – upgrade the streetscape along the laneways and slips that connect it with High Street;
- St Mary’s Precinct – upgrade the streetscape and laneways;
- Carnegie Plaza – upgrade the public realm and the streetscape along Barrack Lane linking to John Street along with the area between the Carnegie Library and the Butler Gallery.
Councillor John Coonan, Mayor commented that “this will be very much welcomed by our local businesses and communities. The Kilkenny City Centre Enhanced Liveability Project will increase the attractiveness, liveability and connectivity of Kilkenny City Centre for locals and visitors alike. It will transform the place by radically improving the streetscape and accessibility of the city centre, helping to knit together its constituent spaces together”.