NEWBRIDGE is one step closer to enjoying the benefits of a functional town hall according to the town manager, Thomas Hunter McGowan.
And Newbridge Town Councillors have agreed hold meetings in the town hall as soon as it is feasible even if it means that they will have to ‘rough it’ in the short term.
A status update was given on the town hall by the manager at this month’s town council meeting recently.
“We will use our own funds for the town hall,” said the town manager.
“We have asked the architect to prepare a plan of what we might do and we will try to address the three principal groups, FADA, Culture Factory and Newbridge Youth Alliance, that have applied to us.”
Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin in response said that it is essential that the town council maintains ownership of the hall.
“What you are saying is that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“There is a group here tonight [at the meeting]- Newbridge Youth Alliance. I feel that as a town council we haven’t done enough regarding the town hall. We need to take a leap of trust for the Newbridge Youth Alliance.”
Newbridge Youth Alliance presented the members of the council with an open letter expressing their interest in the hall for community use and, in particular, organisations representing young people in the town.
Expressions of interest were also lodged from FADA, a voluntary non-profit organisation committed to building a resilient sustainable community, and from Culture Factory, who wish to establish a creative and social centre,for young people in Newbridge.
“The first job is the immediate protection of the roof and windows, the second is to fit it out for the town council use, which keeps the town hall in our ownership and control,” the town manager explained.
“Let’s get in there even if we have to rough it initally. The drawings will be before the town council to consider and decide how we are going to allocate funding.
“Next month we will have the plans - I plan to make it into modular groups so we can tender quickly and get quotes in and get immediate work securing the building and then fitting out the building. We hope that by September we will have a contractor on site. We want to design something that co-operates a multi-use for all the groups that have expressed an interest in the town hall.”
Cllr Pat Black agreed that a mult-purpose community hall “would be the best way to go”.
Cllr Mick Deely added that “for the first time the town hall is not on a wing and a prayer anymore.”