Plans to transform Hawera's central business district into a vibrant and easily accessible space have taken a big step forward.
This week the South Taranaki District Council gave the green light for a $130,000 proposal to enlist the expertise of an urban planner.
The council voted unanimously to fund the Hawera Town Centre Development plan at a cost of up to $100,000. This will be funded through its Hawera Property Reserve or rates, with Bizlink Hawera picking up the rest.
Mr Dunlop said council and Bizlink Hawera had demonstrated leadership in providing funding for the design plan which focused on the town's future.
"The Hawera Town Centre Development Plan will provide real potential to build a vibrant and economically sustainable town centre that is a showcase to attract new residents, business and visitors," he said.
Over the next few months time will be spent gathering information and talking with the community about ideas for the plan, which should be finalised by October 2014.
"It's important we take time to get the engagement stage right because the final plan will need the buy in of the business community, developers and our residents for it to succeed," he said.
Bizlink Hawera chairman Andy Beccard said Hawera's current town centre did not meet the needs of retailers or residents.
"It was essentially developed over 100 years ago and our community's social and retail needs have changed considerably over that time," he said.
Mr Beccard said the plan provided an opportunity to develop a centre the whole town could be proud of for years to come.
"It will provide a big injection of confidence into our retail and service centre and will also give property owners confidence to reinvest in the town," he said.
Bizlink's town co-ordinator Rangi Coleman said he was also pleased with the council's decision as it presented an exciting opportunity for Hawera.
"We've been chomping at the bit to at least get the process started," he said.
The urban design plan, along with the Walkways and Cycleways strategy are the main projects related to the council's economic development strategy.
- Taranaki Daily News
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