Members of Naas Tidy Towns as well as local politicians at the official opening of gym equipment by NTT at the Naas lakes
Naas is edging ever closer towards an All-Ireland Tidy Towns title.
The town finished in fifth place, along with a number of other entrants, with a total of 331 marks — eight points behind the tally achieved by overall winner Listowel.
However, Naas managed to add seven points to last year’s total and was the second best performing town in Co. Kildare — a point behind Maynooth — in the category for large towns.
This year the town won a fourth consecutive gold medal and achieved a point more in all of the headings under which marks are awarded except for approach roads, streets and lanes, which replicated last year’s figure of 35 points.
A number of projects which will enhance the town’s performance in the competition were not completed in time this year.
However these have or will be completed before the 2019 adjudication and these are the removal of the cranes from the derelict Naas shopping centre, the provision of an outdoor gym at the lakes and undergrounding of utility cables in the town centre. It’s also likely that the former Superquinn site will be reopened. “All of these projects will provide a boost for next year’s competition. We did well to increase our marks, especially for litter control and a lot of this is down to the efforts of Martin Kelly,” said Bill Clear of Naas Tidy Towns.
The group has for some time been engaged in community and biodiversity projects which have attracted awards. The committee was praised for having 92 volunteers available as well as for its links with other groups in Naas and the schools.
“There is no doubt that your activities are enhancing the attractiveness of Naas as a place to visit, live and work in with even greater potential in the future for attracting greater numbers of visitors to your town,” the adjudicator said.
The floral displays at various locations were notes though a number of shop fronts on South Main Street including Boylesports “could be looked at in term of their impact on the overall streetscape of the composition.”
The general canal area was praised as was the wildlife area created in the vicinity of Corban’s Lane. Also noted was the “dishing” of pavements which improves the “walkability” of Naas for the very young, elderly and visually and physically impaired.
The work done to remove graffiti was also noted. Both the harbour area, which will be the subject of development plans by Kildare County council and Waterways Ireland, and the lakes were lauded.
“The retention of a strip of unmown tall vegetation around the edge of the lakes is the most appropriate and safe way to manage natural amenity areas and enhances public safety and minimises disturbance to nesting birds.” NTT has been promoting the greenway which allows people to cycle and walk and it was urged to promote e-car charging stations, solar panels and even small renewable wind and hydro power schemes. (NTT intends to buy an electric van to store and transport clean up equipment.)