'Wonderful resource for the whole town'
MINISTER Alan Kelly was in Tralee last week to officially open the new Rock Street to Mounthawk cycleway and walking route.
The 1.5km route, which was completed late last year and runs along a section of the old Fenit railway that closed in 1978, is the first phase of the planned Tralee to Fenit Amenity Trail and stretches from Rock Street to the Bracker O'Regan Road at Mounthawk, Tralee.
On Thursday Mayor of Tralee Pat Hussey, local politicians and senior staff from both Tralee Town Council and Kerry County Council joined Junior Minister Kelly at the cycleway's Rock Street entrance for the official opening of the route.
Mayor Hussey said that offering cycling and walking opportunities for visitors to Tralee would greatly enhance the town and the county generally in the activity tourism sector.
"This amenity has huge potential to further increase the numbers of leisure tourists visiting Kerry... Up to quite recently, dedicated cycling and walking infrastructure was generally not available in smaller towns or in rural areas. Provision of off-road cycling facilities as a method of promoting the activity for both domestic users and visitors was a new concept, as was the conversion of old railways into pathways," he said.
The opening ceremony was also addressed by Rock Street based businessman Donie Dillane of Top Part who spoke on behalf of local business owners and thanked the two councils and the government for creating what he described as "a wonderful resource for the whole town."
Minister Kelly said the cycling route "has already been hugely, hugely successful and it is a massive bonus for both communities in Mounthawk and on Rock Street."
"It's really encouraging and fantastic to see the amount of people who are using the greenway this morning as the opening ceremony takes place," said Minister Kelly.
Both the Mayor and Town Manager Michael McMahon praised local residents, whose goodwill was crucial in bringing the project to fruition.
"I want to personally thank the local community for your vision, commitment, generosity and support in facilitating the delivery of this route," he said.
"I am sure that the extension and completion of this route will act as a catalyst for other routes to be developed all across the country, greatly increasing the attractiveness of Ireland as a tourism destination and creating jobs in local economies," said Mr. McMahon.
The Town Manager also paid tribute to the staff of Kerry County Council and Tralee Town Council for their efforts in moving the project forward and completing it to a high standard.