Wagga City Council plans to beautify Fitzmaurice Street and improve its connections to the riverbank pathways with the help of a $271,000 grant from the NSW government.
Wagga was one of 19 councils to share in $15 million in grants announced on Monday as part of the 'Your High Street' program designed to "permanently transform streetscapes into more liveable, accessible and vibrant public spaces".
The council's proposal was to "revive Fitzmaurice Street as a focal point for the region and enhance connections to the riverfront" through lighting, artwork, parklets and bike features.
Parklets are traditionally defined as extensions of the footpath into parking areas that can incorporate public seating, vegetation, bicycle racks and art displays.
Council economic development officer Dominic Kennedy said Fitzmaurice Street would not lose any parking spaces as a result of the plan.
"We'll be creating up to six parklets to put along the street. These parklets are not going to be taking up valuable parking space down there; they will be placed on the footpath instead," he said.
"We have rather wide footpaths and we are going to be taking advantage of those instead of looking to take up parking spaces.
"The business community was engaged initially as part of this application but we will be going out for expression of interest to find out which businesses will be potentially interested in having parklets outside their business."
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The proposal also includes decorative lighting on the trees on the Fitzmaurice Street median strip, safety lighting in dark areas between the riverside and the street, and 'wayfinding' signs to help visitors on the bike path find attractions along the street.
"We'll be looking at putting in some street art, potentially some murals, looking at some of the more unsightly infrastructure service points and looking at the development of a historic walk," Mr Kennedy said.
"The Fitzmaurice Street end is a heritage conservation area and there are already tours that go on there so we'll be looking to build upon those existing heritage elements and really draw out some of that history with signage and plaques."
The council has a deadline under the grants program for completing the project by May next year and will be seeking quotes from contractors from next month.
Mr Kennedy said the Fitzmaurice Street project was a "starting point" for further works that could take place once the CBD master plan was adopted.
Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the Your High Street program would build on the success of the Streets as Shared Spaces program for street transformation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The pandemic has helped shift our perception of streets as more than just places to walk or drive. One year on from the lockdown, Your High Street is the second phase of the program which cements the role of our streets as places for people to gather, socialise, dine and do business," Mr Stokes said.
Griffith City Council received $1 million for a Kooyoo Street Plaza Development to create "a space that can be closed to become an urban plaza for cultural and art events, markets and holiday celebrations".
Hay Shire Council received $333,752 for phase two of the Witcombe Place project in Lachlan Street to "enhance an existing underused public space" and create "much needed community space in the centre of Hay" with trees, seating and public artwork.
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