Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has awarded Newtownabbey Borough Council £53,000 to tackle eyesore properties.
The money is part of a £605,000 funding package aimed at dealing with decay and dereliction at sites across Northern Ireland.
The funding will be divided between six council areas, including £53,000 for Newtownabbey, £220,000 for Belfast and £39,000 for Larne.
According to the Department of the Environment, Newtownabbey Council’s funding will be directed at severely dilapidated properties on the Shore Road, including the former Boundary Bar near Bawnmore.
A council spokesperson confirmed that the money will be used to improve rundown buildings along the route of the Giro d’Italia cycle race, which will pass through the borough in May. However, she said the local authority couldn’t yet provide details of individual properties where work will be carried out.
“We are delighted to have been allocated funding as it will enable us to tackle some of the eyesores in the borough in advance of the prestigious Giro d’Italia passing through the area,” she explained. “We are keen to show Newtownabbey in its best light when the world’s media focus will be on Northern Ireland.
“As the council have not been able to contact all property owners as yet, it is not possible to confirm the specific buildings that will be included in the scheme.”
It’s understood that the improvement works are due to be carried out by March 31, 2014.
Since the department’s Dereliction Intervention Programme began, more than £4million has been allocated across the province.
“This funding will enhance these areas, removing eyesores along key coastal areas and in our towns and cities, boosting tourism and helping our economy,” Mr Durkan commented.
“I have seen at first hand the good work that this dereliction funding can do, so I was keen to continue it. This is why, in addition to the £500,000 provided by the Executive in the January monitoring round, I have provided a supplement of £100,000 from my own department’s funds.
“I congratulate the councils who secured funding in this round and commend the efforts of all those who applied. Unfortunately not every bid could be successful but I encourage all councils to continue to submit quality bids so that I can continue to look for funding opportunities to tackle decay and dereliction.
“It is my aim to create a better environment and a stronger economy. This funding does exactly this by enhancing our environment, encouraging tourism and strengthening our economy,” he added.