Tuesday, 25th April 2017
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

After rolling our Easter eggs, we’ll surely have a sizzling summer!

For some, the wait for Easter was simply too much. An odd sip of Clonmel Chardonnay, or a smaller than usual glass of vino, was by all accounts just about acceptable. A wee nibble of the children’s bar of chocolate, when they were out of sight or better still asleep. Maybe even the odd raiding party on the sealed, time locked biscuit box, which has been clandestinely calling you, for the last few weeks.

After abstinence of many, many weeks, Sunday past brought welcome relief for the masses. The strange habit of devouring far, far too many chocolate eggs than you would have thought possible. Guzzling a copious quantity of alcohol was quickly followed for many, by the annual words of Solomon’s Wisdom “Never again!” Yet we can all look forward to the same purgatory, forgiveness and indulgence, in approximately 347 days time.

In the meantime, we can ALL begin to look forward to a regenerated Waterford City, with the exciting plans of the SDZ (Strategic Development Zone) on the North Quay. Sadly, no longer to be part of a bigger, better and brighter “North Waterford”. That hotel on the hill, finally being sold to a man with a vision and a passion for Waterford. The promise of a rapid build, development and delivery of the Michael Street Shopping Centre. These projects and many more, according to media accounts, will mean that we have to wait slightly longer for all our ducks to truly line up. But in the very short term we will surely have a “Summer to savour” in 2017.

The annual Waterford City in Bloom collaboration, between Waterford Business Group and the Council, has in the past two years expanded beyond all expectations. Not to sit on their laurels, the organisers have expanded once again and this year there will be in excess of 300 baskets being displayed across the whole city. In particular, the businesses along O’Connell Street have come on board in abundance and this should be commended.

The 2016 Tidy Town judging panel, purposely singled out City In Bloom, as part of the increased points allocated to Waterford City. They also specifically stated, that they wished to see this noteworthy collaboration continue and expand for 2017. This is just what will happen over the next few years. Hopefully, in conjunction with supplementary proposals that have been presented to the Council, for a unique sculpture/display on the city centre entrance roundabout, at Plunkett Station, and a flag project that will festoon Rice Bridge with tricolours of the world – and not before time, I hear far too many of you say!

Summer In The City returns this year, after an absence of twelve months. Due in part, to the music festival that was Summerval, having been dropped from the playlist. There is a promise that this will be a return, to delivering what our populace and our visitors want. Good old street entertainment. A busking themed festival, has been much talked about. Maybe, if someone is prepared to grasp the mantle, this could take place during a future Summer In The City. Thus, expanding the offering and attracting an ever growing audience.

On the retail front we can already see business owners investing in our city centre. There are new premises opening, on what seems like a weekly basis. Many buildings are getting a fresh shiny, or matt coat of summer paint. It is great to see the variety of colour being displayed on our shop fronts. As individual as the shop products on offer.

The Apple Market’s new roof is taking shape and boy does it look great. Its steel frame, to this boy of the seventies, looks just like one of the Star Destroyers from the Star Wars series of films. Maybe we could ask some of the cast to officially open this multi-tasking space?

Running in tandem with the Apple Market’s brand new roof are the other open space/public realm works. These too will also transform our City to all who care to visit.

This City is at long last beginning to shout just that wee bit louder.

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