Ballymahon's old schoolhouse (centre) is to become the focal point for a new, state of the art community services hub
Ballymahon's economic future has been given a major shot in the arm with government bosses today giving the go-ahead for the development of a new €5.9m community services hub.
The seven figure investment will see a number of locally based agencies including Bridgeways Family Resource Centre relocate to the south Longford town's old school convent building.
The new facility is also expected to pave the way for the development of an innovative remote working hub.
Minister for Rural Affairs Heather Humphreys sanctioned the move towards the latter end of last week under her department's Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF) programme.
Official confirmation of the announcement is expected to be made later this morning.
"This is absolutely fantastic news and will bring transformational change to Ballymahon," he said.
"The new hub, when complete, will incorporate Bridgeways Family Resource Centre, the Day Care Centre, Men's Shed, a remote working hub and will provide a unique and state of the art space for other services to operate from."
Cllr Ross paid tribute to the endeavours of local body, Ballymahon Town Teams in submitting the application for a new community services hub last October and Longford County Council who are the lead agency behind the venture.
"Ballymahon is the fastest growing town in Longford with fantastic employment opportunities already there with the likes of Center Parcs and Kepak," he said.
"It is a massive growth town, but growth has to be managed. This new community services hub will do just that and ensure Ballymahon is one of the midlands' leading towns in which to live and do business in."
Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD, welcomed the news. “I want to welcome this significant funding from my colleague Minister Heather Humphreys, who understands the importance of investing in our rural towns."
Minister Burke continued, "Longford County Council have put huge work into this proposal and the community have all worked together in order to achieve a common goal – to address the social, economic and physical needs of Ballymahon which has grown significantly in recent years and needs further investment from government to keep apace with the growth.
“As Minister for Planning, it is a goal of mine to see derelict buildings within towns be brought back into use, and the key historic buildings which are central to our communities developed and used by current generations, as they have done in the past. This will bring more footfall into our town centres and benefit our business community also. I look forward to work beginning in Ballymahon and to see the benefits this investment will bring to South Longford and the region. I am glad to see Fine Gael in government continue to prioritise and invest in our rural towns, and I will be working to ensure this investment is maintained as we exit from the pandemic."
Senator Micheàl Carrigy also expressed his delight. "This project will bring a number of vacant buildings in the town back into use to provide key services for the local community including enhanced family support services, a new dedicated youth club, enhanced elderly care services and a new rural working hub."