By Liam Cosgrove
Hard to believe that Christmas is just less than 20 weeks away but a Town Team Project Group came together last January to see if the Town Centre and our new streets (which can’t take the old lighting system) could organise a new one. The previous set of lights was commissioned in the latter years of the last decade, with support from the then Town Council, who traditionally annually resourced the Xmas lighting project with capital and operational costs to the tune of €13,000 per annum until it was abolished.
A significant application to the REDZ Government programme in 2015 allowed the town to re- invest in the lights and the Central European Green Tree, which was the focal point on the square. Galway County have never been able to come close to the level of commitment (€1,500 in 2019) which has had the business community raising on average of some €10,000 from their subscriptions and the community through fundraising with events like the Zombie Walk and People of the Year Awards. The lights and electrical points have all changed with the new street enhancement programme so a whole new set has to be commissioned and then installed.
A huge amount of research and costings has gone on to the measurements, samples, and creative vistas to the point that in late June this year GRD have allocated 66% of Grant Aid of €130,000 project which should see the Xmas Illuminations sorted for a decade. . The balance of €44,000 has to be raised locally for the capital and installation, servicing and storage costs.
The business owners have indicated their support and the Town Team are really excited with this positive news and are looking forward to having a fabulous new looking town this December. Some additional events will be confirmed in the Autumn but it is hoped that the new lights will be installed by the last week of November.
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“This has been really good news for our community, given the delayed street enhancement works, the Pandemic; it should give us all a positive lift as we close out a very difficult year.” Town Team Co-ordinator, Anita Kileen
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