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Tuesday, 3rd September 2019

Crunch time for LoveDrogheda BID

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Members of the LOVEDROGHEDA Working Group who are striving to have Drogheda recognised as a Business Improvement District (from left): Geoff Fitzpatrick, Niall Kierans, Declan Kierans, John Shanahan, Jackie Jolliffe, Valerie Sherlock and Ursula Clarke.

Businesses encouraged to use their vote for the good of the town

This is a nail biting time for the people who came up with the idea of making Drogheda a Business Improvement District or BID for short.

The LoveDrogheda BID Committee have put their proposals to Louth County Council who have approved them and now it is up to the town’s business owners to vote for or against it.

A Business Improvement District is a commercial area in which rate payers are asked to pay extra (in Drogheda’s case this will be an extra 3.5%) on top of their existing rates so that funds can be raised to invest in projects to improve the local business environment.

This may sound like turkeys voting for Christmas but it’s far from it. The whole idea of a BID for Drogheda is to raise funds to make the town a better place to live and to improve the local business environment.

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According to Niall Kierans of the LoveDrogheda BID Committee, the scheme will raise €2 million. This money will be invested in our town over the next 5 years. But only if the ratepayers agree.

Examples of how a Business Improvement District will benefit business in Drogheda include:

  • It will provide a foundation from which economic plans can be developed, five year enterprise and tourism development plans.
  • We can start putting a vision together as to how the Drogheda region will develop over the next 5 years and beyond.
  • Leverage the benefits of our heritage town and its tourism potential.
  • Grow our night time economy through the Purple Flag initiative.
  • Access to additional funding bodies, with upwards of 20% additional funds expected.
  • “We can start discussions about the 6,000 people that leave our town every day to work, mostly in Dublin, and what actions we can take to get them working in Drogheda.”
  • We can review the mix of retail / workspace and hospitality in our town centre.
  • We can review options on how to improve accessibility into and around our town.
  • Get more business data about our town’s economy.
  • Development of a town centre strategy to revitalise the town centre e.g. living space, co-working, retail and hospitality.

All this sounds fine and progressive but obviously it is early days for the LoveDrogheda BID and nothing can happen unless the rate payers vote for it

The LoveDrogheda BID has proposed an additional 3.5% contribution on local rates – which has to be approved by a simple majority of rate payers. It also has to be approved by, at least one third of the members of Louth County Council.

Additional funding will also be sourced from economic development agencies and other grant funding bodies.

Ballots for the BID plebiscite have been posted out to all rate payers and must be returned to the Louth County Council offices in Dundalk by September 19th at 5:00 PM.

The LoveDrogheda BID committee are asking all eligible rate payers to use their vote to bring on what could be a game changer for Drogheda and it’s struggle to regain the prominence it used to have.

“Let’s make Drogheda great again!” committee member Geoff Fitzpatrick said. “If you need further information to help you make up your mind, have a look at our web site lovedrogheda.ie

“The really important thing to remember is that you must return your ballot paper to the Council offices by September 19th.”

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