The pupils from Caedraw Primary School greeted the Deputy Minister on the new footpath linking Merthyr College to the town centre, taff trail and the Welsh Government and Orbit offices in Rhydycar.
During his visit, the pupils named the new footpath, The Iron Town Link, which has been completed as part of Merthyr Council’s £24m Merthyr Tydfil Regeneration Scheme – backed by the European Regional Development Fund and Heads of the Valleys Programme through the Welsh Government.
The 1.2km route will make it easier for both walkers and cyclists to access work, training and the lower town centre where improvements have also been made through the Objective 1 programme. The route also includes one of the first bridges in Wales to be made entirely from recycled plastic while giving the appearance that it is made from wood.
The Deputy Minister then made his way into the town centre to officially open the new regeneration information shop, the former Watchmaker’s Shop, where members of the public will be able to view plans and find out about the improvements proposed for the area.
Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies AM, said:
"It’s great to see how EU funding is helping to drive forward regeneration in and around Merthyr Tydfil. Improving the environment in which people live and work will increase the economic potential of the area – attracting investment and stimulating employment opportunities."
The regeneration plans extend to other parts of the town which will also be revived through the creation of a new public space at the Gateway to the Pontmorlais Heritage Area and improved access to the train station. A Building Enhancement Programme will be available offering funding to help businesses make improvements to their commercial properties, enhancing the character of the town.
Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Councillor Brendan Toomey, said:
"The Town Centre Regeneration Programme is now well underway, and the opening of the new Regeneration Information Shop will provide members of the public with information on the developments taking place to enhance our Town Centre, to which more people can now access via the newly-named ‘Iron Town Link’
Deputy Headteacher of Caedraw School, Neil Hancox, said:
"Year six have decided to call the path the 'Iron Town Link' because it joins the Iron Town of Merthyr Tydfil and the new offices and developments at Rhydycar. In the past there were iron-stone mines in the area, and through their studies, the children have seen the iron stone and coal when they investigated the area. They've also read a book called the Iron Town Boy – about a young boy searching for work and the town’s industrial heritage."