If you’ve got a brilliant idea on how to transform Summer Street into a futuristic CBD retail and meeting place Orange City Council wants to hear from you.
Deputy mayor Cr Joanne McRae said council was looking at a $30 million project to rejuvenate the CBD and was keen to hear ideas from the public, retailers and design experts.
She said suggestions that had been floated included turning Anson Street between Summer and Kite streets into a pedestrian mall, creating a town square or meeting place area for day and night time activities and installing technology to provide Wi-Fi and information about events in the area.
Cr McRae said the council now wanted more ideas and would soon start community-input sessions both online and at pop-up stands.
On Wednesday the federal government announced a $100,000 grant toward the initial design strategy, which will cost $400,000.
Public comment would be collected from August-September with work expected to start by February-March next year.
The two-year project is expected to be finished by 2021.
“We’re really looking at what a CBD of the future would look like,” Cr McRae said.
“It’s not just replacing pavers and bricks and a couple of signs. It’s thinking big.
“It’s getting away from the notion the CBD is all about shopping.”
She said the CBD should also be a meeting place, a venue for community events and be used for regular night time activities.
Cr McRae said there was scope for changes to car parking and for access for mass transit electric buses.
“Anson Street, between Kite and Summer streets, some people have argued that block should be blocked off to traffic,” she said.
She said Robertson Park could have extra uses.
Cr McRae said it was important council worked with the federal government to start the project.
“With a task as big as transforming Orange’s CBD, it’s a sign of how complex and multi-layered this idea is, that $400,000 will be spent on the initial design strategy,” she said.
Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the revamp would help retailers compete with online shopping.
‘It is going to be a huge project, but an exciting one,” he said.
“I think all regional communities at the moment are looking at how they can revitalise [their] CBDs.
“It is a natural part of Orange growing. I think the community is going to be very excited by it.”