The annual general meeting of Boyle Town Team took place recently and the following officers were elected:
Chairman: As previous chairperson
Secretary: Dara Callaghan
Treasurer: Sinead Devine
Outgoing officers provided comprehensive reports to the meeting on what was deemed by all as a successful year for the Team and the town.
In reviewing 2018, the executive attributed the success to 3 main reasons:
- The commitment and dedication of the members of the Town Team who have been unselfish of their time and advise when it came to making decision for the future benefit of Boyle.
- The great working relationship, interest and commitment shown by Roscommon County Council in the town and the day to day activities of the Town Team.
- The acceptance of Central Government and the various Government Department’s that Boyle is a town fighting back and not sitting around blaming others for the lack of economic success to date.
The reports continued “When Boyle Town Team was established, we set up, among others, two main initiatives:
• Putting the town ‘back on the map’
• Devising a long term plan for the town’s future
To get the town on the map we initially entered the Bank of Ireland Enterprising Town Awards and through hard work and planning, not only did we win the county award but were crowned the overall winner in 2016. Being crowned Ireland’s Most Enterprising Town showed the agencies and the public that Boyle was an exceptional town and one that meant business.
Armed with our new found status we continued to develop Boyle on a weekly basis while still concentrating on our long term plan.
That plan – Boyle 2040 – was launched to the public last November and outlines the long term and future plans for Boyle which are very exciting.
Boyle 2040 contains a guide and framework as to what the town could look like in 2040. Like any guideline document, it can change as circumstance dictate.
In 2016 Boyle Town Team secured €180,000 in funding for the town. We are delighted to report that in 2018 we secured €810,000.
This is unprecedented and would not have been possible without our plan and our vision for Boyle – Boyle 2040. Funds were obtained to commence preliminary work on the Royal Building and this should commence in the next few weeks.
Our main application for funding for the Royal Building and associated development is eagerly awaited in the first few months of 2019 and we would hope Minister Ring and his department, who have been very supportive to date of the town, will see that our application and the awarding of this grant is necessary to compliment all the other funding that we have recently obtained.
This project is a bit like building a house and planting the trees around the perimeter but then not building the house itself. The ‘trees’ in this instance are the Greenway, PROC and Village Renewal funds and the ‘house’ is the main Royal development.
Our nine point plan announced in 2016 is progressing as planned.
Among the items we addressed during the year include:
A feasibility study that found that the Albergo Diffuso or ‘Scattered Hotel’ project as initially outlined would not work in the town but we are delighted to note that the ‘Boyle Rooms’ project has mushroomed from the Albergo Diffuso project utilizing the information contained in the feasibility Study. The project has applied for phase two Rural Regeneration funding and we hope it is successful.
In December the Team, along with other partner organisations and the GRETB ran a 4 week Tourism Training/Customer Care course in the town. This was a follow on to the ‘Train the Ambassadors’ programme that the Team initiated and we now have 16 trained ambassadors in Boyle ready for the anticipated tourism increase that Boyle 2040 will bring.
The €500k grant towards the Lough Key to Boyle Cycleway is most welcome and will link for ever the town of Boyle with its jewel in the Crown – Lough Key Forest Park. Once guidelines issue, work will commence on this project.
Our inclusion in the Pilot Residential Occupancy Scheme is also welcomed and it is a high priority of the Team to get people back living in the town centre. We have discussed a number of exciting ways to achieve this and this is a project that will be high on the Team’s list of objectives for 2019.
The work at the Shambles with funding from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme that was applied for by the Team is to be commended and will really come into its own, and will be complemented by work on the Royal and the associated boardwalk, when this happens.
In addition to the above main projects, during the year the Team secured funding to make Boyle the county’s first cycle friendly town and work is well underway on this initiative which will be implemented for the 2019 season.
We also received funding and installed solar lights in the Pleasure Grounds, funded a discount voucher book for the 2018 tourist season, devised a coordinated paint scheme for Boyle buildings, addressed a gathering in Roscommon on our plans for the cycle friendly initiative, took part in a TG4 TV programme, received positive publicity in an article in the Irish Times, and featured last week on RTE Radio One’s Drivetime.
We have also kept all media both online, print and broadcast abreast of developments when it is appropriate to do so from an operational perspective.
We were also delighted to see funding allocated for the Courthouse and it’s development and we hope it is successful for other funding that has been applied for to bring this important town centre building back to life.
The redevelopment of the Second Gate Lodge of Rockingham will be a great addition to the town. The Team are very conscious of the behind the scenes work that the Chamber of Commerce are conducting on this project and hopefully we will see further progress this year. Indeed we are delighted with the close working relationship that the Team and Chamber has built over the years.
The Team has also meet developers with plans for various other attractions in Boyle and we hope some of these come to fruition in 2019.
At the AGM, the Chairman thanked a number of people on behalf of the Team: “I cannot thank enough Roscommon Co Co’s Martin Lydon, Pat Murtagh, Majella Hunt, Alan O’Connell, Brian Farragher, Emmet Humphreys, Philip Fleming, Michael Conlon and or course the CEO of Roscommon County Council Eugene Cummins for their help, courtesy and assistance throughout 2018.
In all my years of community development, I have never witnessed an interest by Roscommon Co Co in Boyle and it’s future like that that exists at present. Long may this continue.
I would also like to thank Oireachtas members Frank Feighan, Denis Naughten and local Councillor and Town Team member John Cummins for all their help in 2018.
Finally a big thank you to you the Town Team members who have been a constant support to me as Chairman over the last three and a half years. What we have achieved and what we plan to achieve for the future of Boyle is down to a team working together.
I would encourage those in the 18 – 40 age group in Boyle to consider asking a club or organisation to nominate them to Boyle Town Team. The future lies in our young people so it is important they have their voices heard on their town’s future.
I firmly believe that 2019 and the following years will see Boyle rightfully back as one of the top towns of its size in the country and a model for others in how to regenerate itself.
We have a bright future ahead” the Chairman concluded.