SHANNON councillors and county officials are to open up the options for the town art centre, which has run into difficulties in settling on a home.
Bright prospects for establishing the centre were set back when an EU fund for special projects in the Gateway centres of the National Spatial Strategy was cut back.
Finding a home for the art centre has run into further difficulties. Delays in moving forward with a new phase of the town centre complex have placed question marks over proposals to locate the centre in that location. Other options were also reduced when it became clear that a 10-acre site, which was thought to be in local authority ownership turned out to be part of the Shannon Development property portfolio.
But at their Shannon Electoral Area meeting on Tuesday, councillors won official support for moving ahead with whatever groundwork can be assembled so that the art centre proposal can move ahead immediately whenever funding becomes available.
Chairperson of the group, Councillor Patricia McCarthy, told the meeting that a lesson she learned from the former county manager, Joe Boland when she was first elected in 1979 “was to have schemes and projects at the ready so that whenever funding became available, all was in readiness”.
Shannon town manager and director of services, Bernadette Kinsella told the meeting that even though no site for the art centre has been earmarked, “certain work can be done”.
With a new round of funding in the offing from the European Regional Development Fund, Ms Kinsella said it would be of benefit if projects put forward for support were ready to move immediately.
Councillor McCarthy said that the council’s architects are to be asked to assemble drawings. “Even if the money comes through, we all know that going through planning and other procedures will take 12 months at least, so it will be worthwhile to have advance work completed beforehand.”