Street cleaning, planting flower beds and footpath de-cluttering are among the activities being undertaken this week as part of Project ACT, as county Cork gets ready to move into Phase 2 of the Government’s roadmap to recovery.
Under the initiative, which has seen ‘Town Teams’ established in 23 towns across the county, Cork County Council are continuing to support towns and villages in their efforts to re-open businesses and get towns back up and running.
The Town Teams, having spoken with stakeholders and communities, and established initial plans, are now all ramping up their efforts to support communities and businesses as the country prepares for the lifting of some restrictions imposed to protect the community from Covid-19.
In the next phase, it is expected that small retail outlets will be able to open, as long as the business has adequate physical distancing measures in place, and the retailer can control the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any one time.
Many businesses have come under increased pressure in recent weeks and months, and their reopening will spell an opportunity for locals to support their local retailers.
To do that, Council teams are undertaking a number of measures across the county to assist. That work includes: footpath de-cluttering in Kinsale and Skibbereen, the planting of flowerbeds in Cobh, the addition of new road markings in Fermoy, street cleaning in Kanturk, and sign restoration in Dunmanway.
There are also set to be enhanced specific physical distancing measures introduced to ensure the smooth phased return of business and community life across Cork.
This includes pedestrian friendly zones across the county, as well as the inclusion of additional footpath space, some changes to traffic flow and outdoor supports for businesses requiring socially distanced queueing.
Each of the Town Teams have been engaging with the local community, and have prepared this programme of works as a response to the needs and wants presented.
Mayor of Cork County, Councillor Ian Doyle said: “What is clear is that people want to behave responsibly and safely as the country transitions from Phase One to Phase Two. As a local authority, Cork County Council is keen to play its part through committed funding and a collaborative programme of work involving all the key stakeholders.
“I would like to thank those who have already engaged with the Town Teams, and would encourage others to bring forward ideas that might help reactivate our towns during the summer. We all now realise the ‘value of local’, and should do everything we can to support what is on our doorsteps,” he added.
Project “ACT”, or Activating County Towns, sees newly formed Town Teams composed of people from a range of sectors, and supported by the elected members, working on individual plans for towns across Cork.
The main focus is on rebuilding the economy and community life in each area.
A fund worth €6 million has been committed to to support community, festivals, events and town enhancement works, as a first step, which aims to “build upon the remarkable community resilience that has been sustained since restrictions were introduced in mid-March.” Cork County Council have also ensured vulnerable people and people over 70 are being integrated into the heart of these plans though the Older Person’s Council CARE Programme.
They have said: “Specific measures are being introduced to enable these valued citizens to safely return to their full and active role in daily life”.