German backing for Sligo rail line's greenway plan
Sligo Greenway Co-op has been attracting growing support from abroad for its campaign to create a greenway on the disused railway line between Collooney and Bellaghy.
Following the recent launch of the group's website http://www.sligogreenway.com, sales of shares in the Co-op have increased and messages of support from around the world have been emailed to the community group.
An award-winning greenway, Nordbahntrasse, located in Wuppertal, Germany is featured on the Sligo Greenway website. As a result of this link, many people from Germany have offered encouragement to the Sligo project.
Germany has more than 700 trails on former rail lines that are frequented by local enthusiasts and tourists. The country has over 70,000 km of linked trails, compared to Ireland's 200 km, facilitating a huge tourism industry as well as important local amenities. In turn 15 million German tourists and over 20 million European tourists seek out these same facilities when travelling abroad.
Dr Achim Bartoschek from Leverkusen is part of a community group in Germany that has created a similar local amenity, Much of their funding was done with symbolic share certificates similar to the Sligo Greenway campaign. In a message wishing success to the Sligo Greenway Co-op, Dr. Bartoschek noted that he had added the Sligo project to his own website.
Further endorsement of the Greenway concept has also come in the form of Co-op shares sold online since the website went live in late November. Many Sligo people familiar with the closed line bought shares as gifts for family around the world and some people living abroad did likewise in an effort to support regeneration and growth in their native county.
Tubbercurry native Martin Brennan, now living in the US said of the greenway proposal: "I am absolutely convinced that the efforts of communities throughout the country to construct these bike paths can be compared, in terms of economic impact and environmentalism as being second only to the establishment of the GAA. They promote physical and psychological wellness whether they are used for biking, jogging and walking."
Sligo Greenway Co-op formed in early 2015 and is current continuing a range of meetings with Sligo County Council and other stakeholders in an effort to have the Greenway delivered for Sligo at the earliest opportunity.