A warm welcome to Cranmore was extended to Minister for Housing Jan O ‘Sullivan at the Abbeyquarter Centre on Thursday 29th November. The Minister, whose brief includes Regeneration, spoke to assembled residents, representatives and officials without any notes, demonstrating an understanding of the issues affecting the community. She pointed out the need to include more than bricks and mortar solutions when working to regenerate an area.
Minister O Sullivan was invited to Cranmore a number of months ago by the Cranmore Co-op to witness firsthand the impact of the regeneration on the ground. As part of an official visit to Sligo to launch the Nazareth House Project, she included a tour of estate and the surrounding area to get a taste of the various projects supported by her Department, talking to local residents, elected representatives and workers on route. She noted the improvements that the community, working with the agencies, had achieved over the previous years and welcomed the appointment of the Masterplanning Team, DMOD and Metropolitan Workshops and the start of the new Masterplanning process. The letter of Intent for the appointment of the Masterplanning Consultants was signed by the County Manager in the presence of the Minister the Mayor, the Cathaoirleach and the local community.
A number of very positive announcements were welcomed by the community on Thursday.
Community Facilities: In response to a longstanding campaign by the Cranmore Co-op to extend their existing facilities at 11 Devins Drive, the Minister announced the allocation of €35,000 towards the project. The Co-op has being struggling to accommodate the large groups of young people seeking to utilise the Drop- in facility and the announcement will be a major boost both for young people and the many volunteers who give of their time to provide the service. It is also envisaged that a number of other community based services will utilise the centre providing a range of social and community supports.
The works to the building will be managed by the Regeneration Office and it is envisaged that the improved facility will be ready for use in early 2013.
Abbeyquarter Men’s Group: The Minister also announced the allocation of funding towards the development of workshop space for the Abbeyquarter Men’s Group in response to a proposal devised by the group in conjunction with the Regeneration Office. It involves the conversion of a premises on Cranmore Road, which had been previously earmarked for demolition, into dedicated workshop space, facilitating a number of projects such as boat building, bicycle repairs, mechanics etc. The Men’s group Chairman Joe Mc Donagh hopes that the new facility will encourage other men from the surrounding area to get involved in addition to building on local skills and knowledge. The works to the building will be managed by the Regeneration Office in conjunction with the men’s group with the Departments money being utilised to undertake the major structural works and everything else undertaken by the men themselves. It is envisaged that these funds will be in the region of €35,000 although official notification of the allocation has yet to be received.
Cleveragh Regional Park: The Minister also referred to the allocation of €500,000 to improve access to Cleveragh Regional Park. This was one of the original regeneration proposals aimed at improving recreational amenities in the East City area. Contracts in relation the development of an access road and car parking facilities have recently being signed and the works will be complete in early 2013.
Other Projects: The Minister also visited Cranmore Drive and one of the recently refurbished houses (one of 18 funded by her Department since 2011). In addition she noted that 101 Borough houses had received replacement windows and doors and that 220 houses in the area that had benefited from Energy Efficiency Works funded by SEAI and co-funded by the Department). Following her visit to the Cranmore Co-op Offices the Minister left for Nazareth House.