AN innovative civic space has been described as a “statement of intent” for the regeneration of Carlow town.
The Exchange at Potato Market was officially opened last Friday with the ambition that it will be a centre for a range of social, cultural and educational events. Carlow County Council says the semi-covered outdoor space is open for use, despite the fact that ESB has yet to complete connection works. Bookings at The Exchange are being invited and a list of events to be held in the coming months will be announced in October.
Carlow Farmers’ Market has been installed as an anchor tenant at The Exchange, with the group set to run an open day in the coming weeks, when the connection works are complete.
A group of Ukrainians also plan on having a special Ukrainian market of food and craft stalls, along with music.
Speaking at the official opening, cathoirleach Brian O’Donoghue said: “The really exciting aspect of this project is that it demonstrates how a vacant site in the town centre can be transformed into a vibrant public space for the community.”
Cllr O’Donoghue said he looked forward to working with those present at the opening to breathe life into The Exchange.
The Exchange complements the council’s masterplan Project Carlow 2040, which aims to regenerate the town, with enhancement of Potato Market a centrepiece of that strategy.
Kathleen Holohan, chief executive of Carlow County Council, described the project as “a statement of intent” from the local authority to regenerate and transform the town centre.
Ms Holohan thanked all interested parties who supported the development and looked forward to further enhancements in the town under URDF funding that had been secured.
The timing of the official opening, when the building is not fully functional, generated significant comment on social media. It was scheduled, said cllr O’Donoghue, in line with Culture Night and the retirement of Ms Holohan later this week, while it was also the date that suited public representatives, officials and invitees.
Event bookings for The Exchange will be organised by Carlow County Council’s economic development department and interested users are encouraged to make enquiries through Pierce Kavanagh on [email protected] or by calling 059 9129783.