Limerick City Businesses Updated on 2030 Masterplan at Limerick Chamber Event.
Limerick Chamber hosted an event on 9 June to update Limerick city businesses on the Limerick 2030 Masterplan. The 2030 Masterplan, which was launched two years ago, sets outs activities for the economic, social and physical renaissance of Limerick City Centre and the wider County/Mid-West Region.
It was standing room only as almost 100 owners and managers of Limerick City businesses turned up to hear Conn Murray, CEO of Limerick City and County Council, give an overview of the progress that has been made with the Economic & Spatial development plan for Limerick to date as well as an outline of his team’s priorities and plans for the coming months and year.
Mr Murray stated that the unified authority is just one years old and is still evolving but already “local government is being empowered to lead the economic, social and community development of our city and county.
The elected body has taken time to settle but is supporting our approach.” Limerick City & County Council now has seven strategic sites which are at various stages of development: The Hanging Gardens has gone to tender and construction should start in Q4; Opera Centre has received 7 serious expressions of interest and the 18 month timeline is on target; Cleeves site was acquired in full by the council on the day of the event; Mungret College’s 200 acres is being viewed as Limerick’s Phoenix Park and a plan should be before council before year end; work onColbert Station will commence in June and will complement smarter travel initiatives; The footbridge is still worth considering based on Failte Ireland’s recommendations and feasibility studies but more funding is required; Ardmore Film Studios will double the film production space available in Ireland if it succeeds – an announcement is due in three weeks.
Innovate Limerick has contributed to the establishment of start-ups and jobs growth through a second stage incubation hub established at the LEDP. Plus, following the council’s acquisition of the Andersens factory in Rathkeale after if closed down, an intervention from Innovate Limerick has seen more people working there than before.
Collaboration with LimerickforIT is another initiative where over 220 jobs have been created to date. Mr Murray acknowledged and praised the third level institutions in the region for their constructive collaboration in several initiatives and commitment to the Opera centre
Another major step forward was the establishment of the Limerick Economic Forum which is being chaired by Denis Brosnan and comprises many distinguished business people who are “opening doors”.
Speaking about the Retail Incentive and Investment Schemes Mr Murray iterated that the “our primary ambition is to focus on the retail revival of the city centre, hence our stance with Horizon Mall”. He highlighted that while rates have decreased significantly “only 60% of rates are being paid and we need all rates to be paid so we have adequate funding to re-invest in services”.
On the Marketing Office, the third strand of the masterplan, he noted that much work is being done on “understanding what the product is” under the chairmanship of Tim O’Connor. In response to questions later he said “We’re not marketing together – we need to strengthen that.”
Mr Murray concluded his detailed presentation by saying that they will keep focused on the long term plan. “We’ve had seven major FDI announcements in the last 2 years. Not long ago we were not on the radar for any FDI. Limerick is becoming an easier place to do business. But we have capacity issues and we must deal with it fast.”
Pictured are Conn Murray, Limerick City & County Council CEO with Dr James Ring, Limerick Chamber CEO
Commenting on the evening, Dr James Ring, Limerick Chamber CEO, said “The entire region needs a vibrant and thriving city centre, a centrepiece to hold it all together. A stronger city centre translates to a stronger economy for everyone in the County and region. In recent years we have seen our City make great strides forward."
The turnout this evening and the constructive question and answer session that followed the presentations clearly shows the interest of Limerick City businesses. “The council are just one party to this, we are all stakeholders in 2030, we all want to see it happen, we are all on the same side. "
In recent years we have witnessed an enhanced level of intra-stakeholder agreement which has been very much led by Conn Murray. But we have the right to hold the council accountable, and Conn Murray and his team have the right to expect us to work with them to make 2030 a reality.
"Limerick Chamber through our members will challenge the council when needed, always constructively, but we will also back them when needed,” he concluded.
Dr Ring announced on the night that Limerick Chamber has teamed up with the Local authority to help Limerick achieve its purple flag. The purple flag initiative is aimed at addressing a cities night time economy. A project co-ordinator will commence work with both organisations from August.