Local traders have come together to celebrate the first phase of the Ballymena Public Realm Works which have been completed slightly ahead of schedule this week.
Church Street and Wellington Street are the first streets to experience the transformation with the majority of the red and white barriers being removed, unveiling new granite pavements.
Gerry McClean, Manager of The Music Rooms, said, “Public Realm Work in Ballymena is going well and whilst there has been a minimal degree of disruption the scheme is progressing and
the works are being conducted by a great team who make sure that everything is finished to a high standard. Our shop has been as busy as normal with customers continuing to support the town by shopping local.”
Terry Robb Chair of Ballymena BID Limited said: “The new pavements which are part of the continuing Public Realm works in Ballymena represent a significant investment in our town. This is not only a financial investment in our town right now but also building a better Ballymena for the years to come.”
Recent figures from Ofcom, the Communications regulator, show that people in Northern Ireland spend more time online than any other UK region.
Terry said: “Clearly more people are shopping online but by improving our Public Realm and making Ballymena better through tangible physical improvements we can still bring people into town to shop and use services.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Billy Ashe said: “Council members and staff have been liaising with local traders throughout the completion of this first section of work. We have followed through on our commitments to make sure shoppers and visitors from around the town and beyond know that Ballymena is open for business. Council will support a billboard campaign, radio advertisements, and additional street and car park signage whilst we are building a better Ballymena.”
The Mayor continued: “Council are also working with Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and Industry to support local businesses with their digital marketing as a way to further drive home the message from individual businesses that the town is trading well.”
The Public Realm scheme is a £4.1 million investment intended to reinvigorate the town centre, transforming the visual appearance and enhancing the appeal of Ballymena as a place to visit and shop, generating a positive economic impact.
Work commenced by contractors TAL at the end of May and is due to be completed by late 2016.