Ambitious plans by a north Longford community group to acquire 15 acres of land from NAMA moved a step closer this week as consultancy experts prepare to carry out a large scale feasibility study.
The Leader understands Dublin based firm Tourism Developments International have been assigned by Granard locals and residents to conduct the inquiry on the back of funding allocated by Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL).
It’s anticipated the move could finally pave the way for the protracted purchase of the site as committee members look at developing an interpretive centre in the town.
Paul Flood, one of several local residents behind the drive, said the news illustrated just how much support the venture had generated.
“This is an ambitious project and the people of the Granard region are to be congratulated on their forward thinking,” he said. “Communities must help themselves in these hard times as no one will do it for them.”
Details surrounding the onset of a feasibility study follow the recent introduction of a 500 club draw, the results of which are believed to have raised around $50,000.
Those monies together with the study’s overall completion are what committee representatives hope will strengthen their hand with NAMA chiefs over the coming months.
“The idea is that the centre will be self sustaining and will promote the area and its various attractions,” said Mr Flood.
“In the long term, it is envisaged that, like visitor attractions such as Arigna in Co Roscommon, this centre will lead to the creation of full and part time jobs, both directly and indirectly.”
Mr Flood was just as upbeat when giving his backing to ongoing plans council officials had concerning the mooted purchase of the town’s 13 century motte.
The historic tourist attraction adjoins the 15 acre site and is a project local authority bosses are presently running the rule over.
“One (project) would certainly complement the other,” he said, as he once again returned to heaping praise on the wider community.
“Like many other towns, Granard is not without its fair share of problems. People can either sit at home or stand at the bar counter and criticise their local town and those who try to think outside the box, or they can do like the people of the Granard region by getting up and trying to do something.”
As such Mr Flood revealed representatives from Tourism Development International will be in attendance at a public meeting set for next Tuesday evening (November 20) at 8pm.
Everyone is invited to attend, he added, with the local community centre once more providing the venue.
“This is a community project and it is important that everyone’s views and ideas are taken on board,” added Mr Flood.