Ashbourne Tidy Towns held its annual planning meeting last week and outlined an ambitious plan of action for 2013.
The most urgent agenda item for the group is to prepare for participation in the Meath Anti-litter League competition, which is judged over six weeks from mid-February. A special preparatory cleanup will take place this Saturday, 2nd February. Volunteers will meet at Tesco car park at 10.00am for collection of litter picking sticks, bags, gloves, hi-vis jackets and instructions.
The campaign officially commences on 18th February and award winners will be announced in April. Specific areas were allocated to volunteers at the meeting but the committee urges more volunteers to get involved. The meeting welcomed the news that an additional locality, Baltrasna, will apply to enter the league this year.
Also on the agenda was Ashbourne's entry to the National Tidy Towns Competition. A small sub-group of volunteers will renew the Tidy Towns' five year plan for this competition.
The meeting decided to concentrate on a small number of focused projects, and will also participate in the Meath Pride of Place competition later in the summer.
One of the projects due to be undertaken is the of Ned Nulty's house on Castle Street and help is being sought from a number of local sources.
This year will see progress with some environmental projects, incorporating wildlife elements. Better use will be made of the Broadmeadow River and the river walk as a resource for these. Projects will harness the abilities and interests of volunteers and the advice given by the national adjudicating committee in previous years. This will include developing butterfly-friendly habitats along the river.
The ongoing work of grass cutting, weed control, green bank and shrub bed maintenance will also continue throughout spring and summer.
Graffiti is becoming an increasing menace in Ashbourne so the meeting agreed to purchase graffiti removal kits. These kits and their safe use was recently demonstrated to various community groups by the supplier Gumbusters.
It was agreed also that Ashbourne should continue to participate in national competitions such as 'Irish Business against Litter' and 'Best Places to Live'. This involves collaborating with the local business and commercial organisations in the town.
Finance for Tidy Towns projects and equipment is raised through business contributions and prize winnings. The meeting agreed to apply for Garda approval for the annual church gate collection which is a major source of funds.
The existing Tidy Towns committee was expanded to include four new members: William Brennan, commercial liaison officer; Jason McCann, environmental officer; Sean Smith, vice chairperson and Ronan McManus, assistant secretary.