A north Longford community group are hoping a major fundraising drive will provide the platform for a bid to secure up to 15 acres of land from NAMA over the next few weeks.
The group, formed earlier this year and comprising mostly of locally based residents, have spent the past number of months attempting to raise financial backing in order to purchase the site and two commercial units which are situated close to Granard town’s historic motte.
Under its plans, the group have set their sights on developing an interpretive centre along with a string of other public amenities and attractions.
More recently however, it has faced increasing difficulty in securing a loan, raising question marks over the viability of the project.
Earlier this week, the Leader’s website www.longfordleader.ie broke news of a decision taken by NAMA officials to extend the terms of any prospective deal until September 7.
Now, locals in Granard are pinning their hopes on bank bosses looking favourably on their bid and provide the financial backing required to push through the deal.
“We have made some very good progress,” said commitee member Paul Flood.
“It’s a case of we still haven’t got loan approval although NAMA have given us a bit of time.”
Mr Flood pointed to the success of a concerted ticket selling drive as one of the main reasons why the project had remained on course.
“We have a 500 club draw and that is a sell-out. Annually, it will raise around €37,000 which gives us a good platform to work on,” he said.
It’s just one of a range of contributory factors which Mr Flood and others hope will enable the group to secure a loan as it also looks to conduct a full scale feasibilty study by way of support from Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL).
“NAMA have given us until September 7 but we are hoping that it might be extended a little bit,” he said.
A public meeting, designed to notify local residents and homeowners of the progress made by the group over the past six weeks was held inside Granard Community Centre on Monday evening.