RTE’s Dirty Old Towns series, fronted by celebrity garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin, may have ended but Portarlington people are determined to continue the good work the programme inspired.
While DOT committee are taking short rest, but they have plans to work on projects around Port, in conjunction with the Tidy Towns committee, as member Margaret Guijt Lawlor explains.
“We are not stopping here. We will cut back on some hours, it’s been hectic, but we will see each project through to the end. What that programme has done for Port has been massive, every town in the county should get the opportunity to take part.
“The passion people have just needed to be woken up,” said Margaret, who is project leader for Portarlington Athletic Club’s hall in the town centre,” she said.
With discussions about grants underway with Laois Partnership, she is hopeful the building will be refurbished in the long term, providing a multi purpose community hall.
“I am hoping that by Christmas 2013 we could put some sort of pageant in there, it would be fabulous,” she said.
The Derryounce walkway was spruced up by a team led by local horticulturalist John Carey, and hopes are high that the walk can be extended from the lake across the bog.
The empty apartment blocks on French Church Street, and Bracklone Street that were given a facelift by volunteer painters have attracted interest recently from buyers, though nothing is confirmed as yet by auctioneers DNG.
Arlington House is finished but maintenance will continue, says DOT committee member Ann Dunne.
“We have good residents behind in Rosecourt that are going to keep it tidy, and the residents of Seskin and the Tidy Towns committee will keep the welcome wall at the station litter and weed free too,” she said.
One of the most visually impressive projects was the restoration of the riverbank walk, with its LIFE steel sculpture, but a little more needs to be done,
“The path needs more resurfacing so that people can walk with buggies on it. FÁS always maintained that area before so we are hoping that will continue,” she said.
With much of the main street repainted, they are now turning their attention to side streets.
“We are aiming to do some up Patrick Street way. So many ordinary residents and shopkeepers did their own painting anyway, people got that bit of a buzz from seeing all the work going on,” she said.
Ann thanked everyone for their generosity during fundraisers.
“We are still getting money in, and we want to acknowledge that. We still have quite a bit of materials to pay for, but we got thousands of euros worth of material sponsored. We would like to do something for the Gracefield end of town now, We are definitely not going away because the programme is over,” Ann said.