At last Monday’s monthly meeting of Offaly County Council, Cllr John Clendennen formally proposed the successful approval of the Part 8 process which will see the development of a designated link for pedestrians and cyclists from Kinnitty village to the Slieve Bloom Mountain Trails.
According to Cllr Clendennen, 'this is yet another significant investment for Kinnitty village as Offaly County Council continue to establish the village as the unquestionable economic hub servicing the Slieve Bloom Trails on the Offaly side of the mountain'.
The €750,000 project will include a number of new features:
- Dedicated Cycling & Pedestrian path with 2.3 meters width
- Novice Grade Mountain Bike 2 kilometre Trail (Kinnitty Woods Loop)
- Pedestrian crossing at Kinnitty National School
- Modifications & Upgrades to Kinnitty GAA Entrance
- Road widening, resurfacing and lining
- Public Lighting
- Route Signage
- Landscaping & Re-fencing
This initiative will be a major step forward in improving safety, providing a more expansive and better user experience, and additional traffic calming measures from the GAA grounds to the village.
Clendennen described the Part 8 approval as another chapter in developing the Slieve Bloom Mountains, but by no means the end of the book. There are currently a number of projects being completed simultaneously to achieve this objective, the refurbishment of the old parish hall as a shower & toilet facility, public realm safety works in the village centre and bike trails development across the mountains.
Cllr Clendennen also sought and received a commitment from Offaly County Council Executive, that the quest for further funding would continue with the objective of improving the visitor and user experience. 'There is no doubt that the Slieve Bloom project has already proven to be a massive success with even greater potential, and the next priority must be given to implementing a number of features at the village centre. The objective is that all visitors would start their mountain excursion from the village centre but this will require additional parking, seating and street furniture, bike stands, information & route signage and recreational infrastructure such as water fountains, bike repair stands & bike wash stands', according to cllr Clendennen.
Clendenennen continued 'I am fully confident that with the continued commitment of Offaly County Council, working with other respective agencies, including Coillte and Failte Ireland, Kinnitty and the Slieve Bloom Mountain trails can be developed to be one of the best mountain recreation destinations in Europe'.
The Kinnitty based Councillor concluded his remarks by acknowledging the work and commitment of all the team at Offaly County Council in preparing and submitting applications to government departments, and Ministers Michael Ring and Heather Humphrey’s, for allocating a cumulative funding amount in excess of €5 Million through the Department of Rural and Community Development over the past five years.
'It is imperative that Offaly County Council continue to work with respective agencies and landowners to further establish Kinnitty village as the Slieve Bloom Mountain Trailhead, and I will continue to advocate for further developments', concluded Cllr Clendennen. The commencement of these approved works along the link route is expected in the coming months.