Cavan County Council has secured €3,963,525 in funding for the Virginia Civic Centre project, under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
The funding was announced this morning by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD, under Category One of the Fund, which focuses on strategic, large-scale projects which are ready to commence, and which are focused on the regeneration of rural towns and villages.
The total cost of the project, an ambitious and transformative town regeneration project in the centre of Virginia Town, will be €5.3m, with approximately €1.3m in funding to be matched by Cavan County Council.
This funding will see the development of an integrated civic centre that will incorporate a new library, additional theatre space at the Ramor Theatre and shared multipurpose civic events space both indoor and outdoor to cater to the needs of all services located therein and the broader community.
This includes development of a new three-storey building comprising a community library, meeting rooms and events/exhibition areas which can be used by the library and theatre, along with a tourism information service and a range of other activities. The complex has been designed to provide a high level of multifunctional and flexible space.
The former Parochial House, located adjacent to the theatre, will be transformed to provide a box office and office space along with a digital suite with an interactive tourist information system. Upstairs, this building will be converted into a multi-use space.
The existing theatre will be upgraded and linked to the new box office space and library, through the construction of a shared foyer which will provides access to the Civic Centre and will link the three elements.
A civic space will also be created which will open up access to the lakeshore, boating marina, Virginia Show Centre, Virginia College and the recently redeveloped lakeshore park. Thirty-one car parking spaces will be provided as part of this scheme.
The project will provide a much-needed civic centre, act as a catalyst to regenerate businesses and to encourage private sector investment in the town, bring an underdeveloped and underutilised tract of land in the town core back into productive use for social, economic, educational and cultural benefit of the area, and create a direct pedestrian link to the lakeshore, opening up lands between the Main Street and this area to act as an enabler for the creation of a new street linking the Civic Centre and other key assets.
Cavan County Council was lead applicant and partnered with agencies including Cavan County Library Service, Cavan Arts Office, Ramor Theatre, Virginia Show Centre Committee, Local Enterprise Office Cavan, Breffni Integrated Ltd, and Virginia Town Team.
Making the announcement Minister Ring said “following this announcement, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will have delivered investment totalling €148 million for 110 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €212 million. This funding announced under the first call to the Fund is already transforming rural communities and after today, every county in the country will be benefitting from the investment provided by the Fund”.
The Minister continued “I believe that it is vital that we continue to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns and villages vibrant places for families to live. The projects that this Fund supports are targeting areas where they can have the greatest economic and social impact and will help support communities in facing the uncertainty still posed by Brexit.”
Welcoming the funding, Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Councillor Shane P O’Reilly said the funding would enhance the quality of life of people in Virginia, and indeed east Cavan in myriad ways.
“As a councillor representing this area, I can speak to the significant impact this regeneration project will have on the town of Virginia and its hinterland. We have seen over the past number of years that there is a vibrant and dynamic community in Virginia, and I am delighted to see funding awarded for this project, which will drive the regeneration of this town and of East Cavan. I would like to congratulate all who contributed to bring the project to this stage,” said Cllr O’Reilly.
Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan hailed the funding as “a great day for east Cavan”.
“I am delighted to see the Government support this much-needed development for one of Cavan’s fastest-growing towns. To secure funding for a project of this scale is testament to the hard work that has been put in over a number of years by Cavan County Council staff, working closely with project partners, and I commend them for their efforts. I would also like to acknowledge the role of our elected members, who have been ardent supporters of this project.”
Cavan County Librarian Emma Clancy also welcomed the announcement, stating that the new Virginia Library would be “not just a repository of books, but a gateway to a world of information for readers young and old; a world class facility that will assist our dedicated staff in delivering a warm, welcoming, modern, and professional service for the people of Virginia and beyond”.
Director of Services Mr Eoin Doyle praised the efforts of elected members, past and present, who he said, “have been unwavering in their backing of this project from its inception”.
Manager of the Ramor Theatre, Padraic McIntyre, said it was a privilege to be able to guide the theatre through this exciting new phase as it celebrates twenty years as a venue and cultural hub.
“A great many people have poured their heart and soul into making the Ramor Theatre one of the country’s finest venues, and I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to further develop this valuable cultural asset for the county, and form part of this ambitious Civic Centre project, which will be a wonderful asset for Virginia and for Cavan”.