The chairman of Longford Town Tidy Towns has called on businesses in Longford to take responsibility for outside their premises as judging in the national competition approaches.
“One of the biggest challenges we face, strangely enough, is getting businesses to tidy up outside their own premises. It’s amazing how difficult it is to get businesses to sweep the footpath, collect rubbish or pick weeds outside their businesses,” Andy O’Dowd told the Leader.
Speaking from the new Tidy Towns’ base on Water Street – an old run-down house that was made available by the Town Council and renovated by volunteers – Andy said it was also proving difficult to encourage new volunteers to get involved.
“Some people are tremendous but we need more. A lot of people are saying the times don’t suit but we ask them to register with the Volunteer Centre on Earl Street (beside Turners) and we will do all we can to try and accommodate a time that suits them.
“A tidier, brighter Longford benefits everyone and would make it easier to encourage families and businesses to set up here,” Andy added.
Longford has jumped significantly in the markings in the past decade, from a lowly 141 points in 2001 to a very respectable 278 last year. However, while progress is being made, Tidy Town volunteers still collected over 125 bags of rubbish from around the town last week alone.
The chairman also called on the Council to prosecute political parties for not fully removing all signage relating to the referendum. “We sent representations to all the political parties asking them to carefully remove the signs after the referendum, but some are still up in places and where they did take them down, they left large unsightly cable ties that will have to be removed.”
One of the leading initiatives taking place in the town at present, ‘Streetscapes’, is currently being implemented in a joint effort of Longford Tidy Towns, the Lions Club and LCRL. Derelict or run-down houses are being spruced-up by paint or with vinyl images of windows and doors to replace boarded up structures.
“The immediate impact is incredible. There’s a huge positive spin-off for an area once these visual improvements are made. It’s only perception but it’s an incredible difference” Rosie O’Hara Robinson of Longford Chamber of Commerce said. Over 20 houses will be improved in the coming weeks.
Funding for the initiative was granted through LCRL, who are delighted with the work being carried out. “It’s incredible to see the amount of work achieved by so few and the difference it’s making,” Gary Murtagh of LCRL told the Leader.
LCRL also operate the Tús scheme and have provided six people to the Tidy Towns in their efforts around the Town. “This is very beneficial to both the town itself and to the workers who are currently unemployed. It breaks up the day for them while at the same time gaining valuable experience and making a huge difference to Longford,” Mr Murtagh added.