ONE of the architects of the council’s bid to draw Levelling Up funding for projects in Antrim town centre has welcomed the allocation of £1.2 million.
Ulster Unionist Jim Montgomery said investment was key to unlocking Antrim’s potential.
“Following the award of levelling up money through the Budget I welcome the news that the full money applied for the regeneration of Antrim Town,” he said.
“Having been involved from the outset of this application and pushing it forward I am pleased that the money has come through so quickly and the fact that the full amount has been awarded is testament to the excellent work undertaken by council officers in finalising this bid.
“The money will help with the much needed regeneration of the town centre which is at the initial stages of implementation but will pick up speed over the coming months following the award of this grant.
“Those who pine for years gone by may not support the regeneration of the town but many recognise it needs to be done and it will make a positive impact when finished for residents, local businesses and for attracting some of the many hundreds of thousands of visitors to Antrim Castle Gardens who hopefully will spend their money in a newly vibrant Antrim Town.”
One of the major projects in the local bid is the extension of the boardwalk from Bridge Street out onto Riverside.
Not all residents are impressed by the plans, but the council reckon they are onto a winner.
Councillor Montgomery said there is still much work to do before the builders arrive.
“Whilst money has been established for the boardwalk as part of the levelling up fund, the development and completion of it is years away.
“There are still many surveys of the river to be done to establish if it is feasible and how far it could run up the river.
“A properly developed boardwalk has the potential to be an asset to the town both for leisure and retail but there is a lot of work to be done.”
The council has also been awarded £3.9 million to revitalise Glengormley.
The money will be invested in a public realm scheme, shop front facades and the development of office space at the site of the former police station, which is scheduled to be demolished this month.