Footpaths in Keen Street Lismore will be the first to be upgraded as part of a $1.5 million plan to enhance the central business district over four years.
Keen Street was chosen to be first off the block to coincide with the $5.8 million Lismore Quadrangle project, which includes the new Lismore Regional Gallery and town square just off Keen Street.
Lismore City Council has begun consultations with business owners around the CBD to ensure the ongoing footpath enhancements do not impact too heavily on business.
Molesworth and Woodlark Streets will be fully reconstructed and Magellan Street will be receiving some repairs.
Project Manager Martin Soutar said footpaths in some areas of the CBD were more than 60 years old and were in desperate need of replacement.
‘While a project in the heart of the CBD certainly presents its challenges due to the busy nature of the city centre, it is high time these footpaths were upgraded,’ Mr Soutar said.
‘Footpaths are the first thing shoppers see when they come into the CBD and it’s important to make a good impression if you want people to stay, shop and socialise.’
He said the upgrade of the inner footpaths was listed as a priority by the CBD Citizens’ Jury convened in 2014.
This group was made up of 15 residents, 15 CBD representatives, a representative of the Lismore Chamber of Commerce, a Lismore Business Panel member, and selected Lismore City Councillors.
The group developed a priority ranking of various projects for the CBD that included upgraded footpaths, more toilets, more street cleaning, and revegetating the riverbank.
A CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group was then established as a council advisory group that could provide guidance and feedback as projects progressed.
The council is now working with the CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group as well as businesses along Keen Street to determine what type of materials will be used and when work will begin.
Preliminary consultation suggests that pavers similar to Magellan Street are favoured and that work is likely to take place during the quieter January/February period.
‘We hope to take advantage of the quiet post-Christmas period and our City Centre Manager is already working on promotions to coincide with the work as an incentive for shoppers,’ Mr Soutar said.
‘There is no question this project will cause disruption, but we are undertaking detailed construction planning to ensure we can return businesses to their normal trade as soon as possible.’