Friday 19 July 2019

Drogheda BIDS to follow Times Square!

Hubert Murphy

Drogheda and Times Square might not have too much in common at the moment - but give it five years and who knows!

The heart of New York City was pretty much unrecognisable from what it is today compared to a couple of decades ago. 

And that is thanks to the local business community who came together and delivered a business improvement district scheme for the area (BIDS). 

Now a similar scheme is being promoted for Drogheda, following on successful projects in Dublin, Dundalk and Sligo. 

A committee has been formed to progress the BIDS aim and they have already put forward its proposal to the coumcil. The aim is that having such a scheme - with a full time BIDS manager - will progress Drogheda like never before. 

'The idea began in the 1980s in Canada and the US', John Shanahan from the group states.

The purpose is to rejuvenate areas, via marketing, security, visual improvements and economic development. BIDS works with the council, tidy towns, chamber of commerce and other bodies to bring plans to fruition. It's financed through the rates and businesses pay about €200 per year.

At present there are about 1,500 rated properties in the catchment area of the scheme. Due to the link with Louth, the Meath part of Drogheda can't benefit but can be brought in via an inter-local co-operative agreement.

The establishment of the BIDS can be straightforward and has proved a success in various areas. Indeed, the blueprint could also be developed in other areas, including Ardee and Navan. The next step will see proposals go on public display and them a plebiscite takes place to get agreement from local businesses.

'I think the success of the Fleadh showed what can be done and the timing is right', John remarked. All going to plan it could be operational by early summer.

Drogheda Independent