Open invite on ideas to reopen Clinton Centre

THE CLINTON Centre, which has stood empty for several years despite grand plans to transform it, is now up for lease. 
The Fermanagh University Partnership Board Ltd, which are responsible for the building, have invited expressions of interest in the building, which was first opened in 2002 as a conference and exhibition space. 
Dr John Spence, one of the directors of the board, told the Herald the invitation was for proposals that would encompass the entire building, and ideally the prospective tenant or tenants would have “similar public and community wide objectives” of the board. 
“That is, the facilitation of education, the encouragement of economic development, peace and reconciliation, and support of arts and culture for the benefit of the entire community,” he said. 
Named after former US president Bill Clinton, the centre has been largely lying idle in recent years, aside from being used occasionally as a gallery by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.  
In autumn 2017 a plan was announced, with great fanfare, to transform the centre into an academic hub for peace studies, in a link-up involving Dublin City University, Ulster University, and the University of Massachusetts. 
The plan, which would have seen students from around the world spending extended periods of time studying at the Enniskillen centre, had been announced by President Clinton on a visit to Belfast in 2017.
The project had initially been intended to be up and running as early as last summer, and also was to include an interactive interpretative centre on the peace process. 
Dr Spence said this plan could still progress.
“The original memorandum signed among the universities in 2017 remains on the table, provided that the universities can come up with viable plans that can be funded,” he said. 
“The objective of the present lease notice is to ensure that the wider community has an opportunity to propose any viable and sustainable options for the utilisation of this building.”
Closing date for applications, which can be left at Smyth Leslie in Enniskillen, is Friday, May 3rd.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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