Every New Year’s Day, in a custom resurrected from the Normans, an arrow is cast into the sea to claim the land and waters of the Hook Head area for the year ushering in an era of prosperity.
At yesterday’s ceremony, the symbolism of the arrows all going in the same direction into the channel isn’t lost, the arrows are only the tip of what’s to come in 2023 to drive New Ross forward after a very good 2022.
There will be big changes and big news on the horizon that will change our area: some immediate, some changes are a slow burner.
Early in ’23, Failte Ireland will be showcasing its Destination Town Programme. New Ross was one of a group of towns selected to be a tourism hotspot, after all the works and murals etc. the programme is due to be formally launched to show how towns can rebrand themselves and thrive.
With a new Town Centre Development Officer and Team, a Vacant Homes officer and backed up with significant financial resources, projects in the town centre will be moving up a gear.
Towards the end of March, the first section of the Greenway (O’Hanrahan Bridge to Glenmore) will be opened, after which the work on Lot 4 on the Mount Elliot side will commence, with a goal completion date in 2024. Over 250,000 visitors are projected annually.
Parallel to the opening of the greenway, the redevelopment of the ring road as an additional spur on the trail will be lodged for funding with the Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The old ring road (N25/N30) will see a dedicated bicycle lane, upgraded paths, improved access for all and proper public lighting for all year usage connecting the whole town. With the Maritime Park on the Oil Tank Site starting in the spring, and a new skate park in Pease Park for the latter part of the year, the approach roads will see a whole new energy in 2023.
This year, now in full public ownership, the Courthouse and the John Street Enterprise Centre will be well advanced, with the Murphy Building, the Advance Factory and St. Josephs School processes progressing towards completion. A new 24/7 Ambulance Station based in the old fire station in Michael St, will give the crews a station fitting for their services and respect they deserve.
2023 will bring big changes to the downtown appearance; Quay Street will be pedestrianised, the potential site for a hotel will be identified and Brennan’s Lane/ The Shambles will be fully restored. The finalisation of plans to overhaul O’Hanrahan bridge due in 2024 will link the greenway, former Stafford site and Rosbercon to the rejuvenation of the town centre.
This year will also be a defining year for commercial activity in Town. It could well be the year the brand names arrive. A new development plan will commence mid-year setting the direction for the next five years and be the first plan post Bypass opening. This plan will have to protect the town centre and facilitate retailers who want to be out of town.
Overall, 2023 has the promise for New Ross is to be a great year.“We should be confident in delivering the bulk of these in the year ahead. But events can, and often do, intervene. However, like the arrows, all of them are going the same way, not all at the same pace! Happy New Year and look out for one another this year,” said Cllr Michael Sheehan, Cathaoirleach of New Ross Municipal District Council.