independent

Friday 23 August 2019

Crucial time for Love Drogheda

Valerie Sherlock
Valerie Sherlock

The LOVE DROGHEDA Business Improvement District (BID) Campaign which has been on-going for over ten months now enters its final, and most critical phase.

Ratepayers will, in the month of September, be given a chance to vote for whether they wish to have this scheme implemented for the Town of Drogheda and its near hinterland.

Essentially this is a scheme where ratepayers get to vote on whether they are willing to give an additional 3.5% contribution on top of their rates towards improvements to their community.

The BID scheme involves the Council collecting these funds and giving them back to the ratepayers to spend on projects of their choosing.

'We are now looking for civic minded individuals who are willing over a number of weeks in the autumn to give over a few hours to assist in canvassing Ratepayers to hopefully vote through the Love Drogheda BID,' a spokesperson stated.

If successful, a board will be formed which will be tasked with identifying what projects to pursue. A full-time Town Manager will be employed to project-manage these tasks and he, or she, will also be employed to act as a conduit for engaging with all stakeholders in and around the town of Drogheda.

'At present there are no proper lines of communication between the ratepayers, among each other, and between various State agencies. We need to improve the way we do business if we do not want to languished behind other towns.'

Declan Kierans of the Pain Factory in Laurence street said 'We need a full time Town- Manager. Every shopping centre with 30 or more shops in the Country has a manager, and yet our towns with hundreds of businesses in Retail, Services, Distribution, Manufacturing, Tourism etc. do not have a single voice to represent their needs.

'This has to change, we adapt or die. Our Council, State Agencies and others have not been able to improve our lot at the pace required, we have to do this for ourselves. We owe it to our Community, they support us and we need too support them.

'We need to make Drogheda the number one spot in the North-East for investment, Jobs, Leisure and Entertainment. We want Drogheda to be everyone's first choice for living, working and leisure. That is why we are looking for as many people as possible to come on board to help us get our message across to as many of the 1500 rate payers in and around the Drogheda area as we can'.

Valerie Sherlock of The Westcourt Hotel agrees that the town mist be more vocal.

'We cannot continue to allow the present status quo to remain. If we don't start banging drums for our town we know that no-one else will. The time for sitting back to see what will happen has passed, we need to fight our own corner, we need to run an effective and successful vote campaign to get a positive result in the impending plebiscite of Ratepayers in the month of September.

'This is our one and only chance to force change. If this moment passes and Love Drogheda fails to get voted in, there is no plan B. Projects like Local Heroes, Bonanza, The Boyne Greenway, Christmas Lights etc. involve so much oversight, fundraising and planning that they can no longer be the responsibility of well minded civic citizens.They need to be properly financed and professionally managed.'

The prospect of less events for the Town looms large if Ratepayers do not vote for a BID scheme for Drogheda says Niall Kierans, Chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee, while Leo Monahan, of The Gala Cleaners in Peter street says if successful the scheme will run for five years, after which the ratepayers get to vote again on whether they wish to renew the scheme for an additional five years.

John Shanahan of Polaris Properties in Drogheda said, 'There are over 1700 of these schemes worldwide, there is a reason for that, they are successful drivers of change and innovation. '

'Drogheda is a great town but we want to make it better and with a BID we can', is the opinion of Jackie Jolliffe of The Crafty Fox in Laurence street, 'We are appealing to any individuals or groups to make contact with us if they are willing to lend a hand. Contact can be made by email to droghedabid@gmail.com or by text to 0872309807. Please give your name, email and phone number and we will be in touch in the next few weeks to explain our campaign.'

Drogheda Independent

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