The new year will see a new era dawn for Ireland’s youngest town as the Our Balbriggan rejuvenation plan starts to have a visible effect on the area.
There has been huge progress on the plan, which has been shaped by the views of the people of the town, according to the Balbriggan Leadership Group.
The Leadership Group, chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, President, Dublin City University, was established to prepare ambitious plans for the area with actions that can be delivered upon.
An Our Balbriggan Hub is set to open in the heart of the town in March as part of the 20 Things in 12 Months strategy which was announced at the plan’s launch in May.
Situated in George’s Square, the Hub will be the engine room of the rejuvenation scheme.
“One of the strong messages from the Our Balbriggan survey was that people wanted to see a visible presence on the ground,” said Prof MacCraith.
“This will be a hub of collaboration and activity, a resource for the community to experience the plan in action, with all drawings and graphics on display.
“The hub will also house the Our Balbriggan team who are responsible for effecting change in the town.
“As the year unfolds we are set to see more visible signs of the transformation in Balbriggan.
“New lighting will reveal and highlight the architectural splendour of the town’s historic viaduct bridges.
“There will also be a new lease of life for the town’s historic boathouse with refurbishment starting in the first half of 2020 to restore its interiors and preserve its historic exterior and features.
“Fingal County Council will then look for interested parties to operate the space as a tourism or leisure-related business in keeping with the future direction of the harbour area under the plan.”
2020 will see even more quality public festivals and events, with the town hosting the first annual Fingal International Festival of Voices from March 12-15.
The festival will welcome children’s, youth and adult choirs from Ireland, Europe and the US for a colourful weekend of singing, storytelling and competitions culminating with one ensemble winning the Fingal Grand Prix trophy and €3000.
The festival is focused on celebrating diversity and will provide a platform for individuals and communities to showcase their culture in locations across Balbriggan and the surrounding areas.
In addition to established events such as the annual Summerfest and Festival of Fire, next September also marks the centenary of the Sack Of Balbriggan, which will be commemorated with a series of events across the town, culminating in a large event.
The Chair of Fingal County Council’s Strategic Policy Group on Economic Enterprise and Tourism Development, Cllr Tony Murphy, said: “Over the next few years Balbriggan has the chance to develop into a seaside town with fantastic amenities that will provide a sustainable future for its population.
“There will also be opportunities to develop existing businesses and also attract new investment and jobs into the town.”
The Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly, said: “I am delighted to support the Our Balbriggan Plan and my management team and I are fully committed to its implementation.
“The Council in the budget process have provided for significant capital funding, which is set to transform the town over the lifetime of the programme up to 2025.
“In addition to the sports development officer and community officer already in place, we will open a shopfront premises in the centre of town early next year.
“I have put in place a dedicated Fingal team, who in collaboration with the community, public, social and commercial partners will drive action on the ground.
“I am pleased with the strong progress made on plans for the Bremore Regional Amenity Park, Fingal Coastal Way and cycling and pedestrian schemes for the Harry Reynolds Road where public engagement has been excellent.
“Major schemes in the Quay Street/Harbour and Main Street area will start into the design and planning phase next year.
“We close the year with two new playgrounds, Quay Street and the Martello Tower, which in addition to the new Skate Park are invaluable amenities to the town.”