New Plymouth CBD to get makeover with street art, plants and lights

Taranaki Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Williams said a three step plan to brighten up the New Plymouth CBD was a ...

Taranaki Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Williams said a three step plan to brighten up the New Plymouth CBD was a positive step.

Paint, plants and light are the three planks in a new collaborative project to revitalise New Plymouth's central business district. 

Dubbed "Shaping our City" the programme was jointly announced by the New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and Business and Retailers' Association on Wednesday.

The project will see more street art, more trees and better lighting installed in the CBD. 

Taranaki Chamber of Commerce chief executive Richard Williams said as the region became more of a tourist destination, businesses and the councils needed to work on making it an attractive experience for tourists and locals alike. 

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"It's giving New Plymouth a bit of an edge. It needs to be more than just a shopping centre." 

A positive investment from the council would likely trigger investment from business and building owners in the CBD, as confidence builds around the city centre not only surviving, but thriving, he said. 

"If you let something die and decay it will die and decay," he said, "It's a self-fulfilling prophecy if there's no investment." 

"The prophecy has got to be, we're going to be vibrant." 

The changes were small, but significant and meant there didn't have to be millions of dollars invested and no major hikes to residential or commercial rates, Williams said. 

The programme is part of the city's 30 year blueprint. No figures have been released on how much the programme will cost but it will not involve "major spending".

News of the project received mostly positive feedback on Facebook.  

Tom Jennings said: "Good idea. I'm from the UK, and the majority of the cities there are drab concrete jungles. Nice to see green and art in a city. Bring it on." 

Konna Clark was thrilled to see local artists unleashed. "Yes! Let's not limit our artists to that iffy alley by the Huatoki stream, release them! Exciting stuff yay." 

Others asked for roading or parking to take priority over beautification measures. 

"Much rather have core services sorted than art on the streets,lighting is good to keep our streets safe for tourists," Christine Fabish said. 

Council's group manager strategy Liam Hodgetts said the three-pronged approach would lift the city centre at a "relatively small cost" to ratepayers. 

"The CBD is performing relatively well but like many provincial city centres, it's facing a few challenges - but our CBD also has a lot of opportunities," Hodgetts said. 

"Fortunately that doesn't have to mean major spending.

"A lot can be achieved through good ideas and collaboration among people and organisations that share a passion for our city."

 - Stuff


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