A SUITE of measures have been announced to support communities, industry and businesses as they look to recover from the impact of Covid-19 in 23 towns across Cork by Cork County Council.
Project “ACT”, or Activating County Towns, will see 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 will be 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.” Enhanced physical distancing and pedestrian friendly zones in each location is one of the aspects each Town Team is working on.
Additional footpath space, some changes to traffic flow, and outdoor supports for businesses requiring socially distanced queueing are some of the measures to be implemented, with Cork County Council engaging with stakeholders on how best to implement these changes, and support businesses looking to re-open safely.
A deep clean of the main retail and pedestrian areas, decluttering and fixing street furniture, additional road and pavement markings, 1,400 temporary bollards and the replanting of trees and flowerbeds is some of the other work the Council are undertaking.
Supports and specific measures for vulnerable people and the over 70s are also being integrated into the heart of these plans though the Older Persons Council CARE Programme.
County Mayor Councillor Ian Doyle has welcomed the initiative: “Cork County Council will work closely with communities and businesses as we manage our way out of the current crisis. Our message is simple - Cork County Council will walk with you on every step of the road to recovery. Activating our County Towns will reward the civic pride that has resulted in stronger communities, and an optimism that this strength will see us through.
“I would like to commend all the council staff who are working tirelessly in each of the 23 towns, and to those who continue to provide the emergency support needed to deal with COVID-19,” he added.
Cork County Council have also been active in other areas such as ensuring progress to projects through design, planning and tendering. Since restrictions were introduced, projects worth €22 million have gone to tender.
LEO supports have also been made available to SMEs, while a targeted domestic tourism campaign is taking place in conjunction with Visit Cork.
Chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said: “People across County Cork have shown incredible solidarity in recent weeks. They have stayed apart from their neighbours and friends, while ensuring that everyone who needed support received it. Cork County Council was at the forefront of the Community Call initiative, but we also recognised that the road needed to be prepared for life after COVID-19.
“There are many challenges that lie ahead, but by taking this action now and investing in our communities and our businesses, we can plan with a degree of confidence.
“This is the first time in the Council’s history that activity of this scale has been focused directly on towns and their communities. Our staff will work directly with businesses and communities, as we weather this storm. We started this together, and we will finish it together,” he concluded.