A PETER Street carpark has reopened to the public in time to offer nearby retailers hope of decent Christmas trading.
A deal struck between Wagga City Council and the new owner of the former Franklins supermarket property allowed the old Franklins carpark to reopen late last week.
The carpark closed about a year ago amid public liability insurance concerns by the former owner.
The agreement was a godsend to surrounding retailers, particularly those in the South Town Walk arcade who suffered a dramatic tumble in trade after the carpark closed.
“We are very pleased the carpark has reopened,” said David Payne, owner of the Gateway Bookshop in the South Town Walk.
“It’s the best Christmas present we could have had.
“It’s been a tough 12 months.
“We have had two closures in the arcade over the past year – the second-hand bookshop and Logical Choice.
“Really, you could put that down to the carpark closing.
“It affected foot traffic enormously.
“South Town Walk was an arcade to nowhere.”
Mr Payne and Dom Tancredi, who owns Dom’s Watch and Clock Repair Service next door, believe the arcade closure also harmed trade in Baylis Street shops between Edward and Morgan streets.
“For us retailers (the carpark reopening) is a godsend,” Mr Tancredi said.
“Our customers have easy access to us.
“The two-hour limit is probably enough time for them to do their shopping without fear of fines.”
Council has filled in potholes in the carpark and remarked lines.
“It’s looking good,” Mr Tancredi said.
Franklins closed in 2013.
The property was bought by Wagga interests about three months ago.
Plans for a new use for the building are still being worked on.
The rejuvenated carpark will add scores of parking spaces to the central business district.
That’s something that will be welcomed by Christmas shoppers desperate to find a park during the busiest time of the year.
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