The next step in an ambitious five-year plan to transform the centre of Orange will be up for discussion when the Future City implementation plan is discussed by Orange City Council’s next meeting (1 September).
After two years of research and design by expert consultants, guided by a community panel, a hundred potential ideas were drafted and put on exhibition for community comment.
Now a short-list of key projects, has been assembled in a three-year timetable, aimed at:
- making the CBD a more walkable city centre,
- encouraging more people to come to the CBD and spend more time there,
- supporting current businesses and creating a CBD which will attract new investment.
At the top of the CBD list, work is expected to start this year on a new pedestrian mall in Anson Street, alongside plans to make inner city sections of Byng Street, Lords Place and McNamara Street more attractive and pedestrian friendly. The Council has allocated $5 million for projects in the first year.
Mayor Reg Kidd has welcomed the release of the Future City plans.
“Our expert consultants and the community panel have been working away for a long time on this plan and I’m delighted to see some concrete plans emerge,” Cr Reg Kidd said. “We want a CBD that our local community can be proud of, a place where they’ll want to spend time and will easier for them to move around.”
Orange City Council Infrastructure Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton believes the Future City plan is deliverable.
“The first year of the implementation plan floats a short-list of projects that will have the most impact and will be achievable in the short-term,” Cr Jeff Whitton said. “The list for the following two years lets us tackle projects that are just as, if not more important, but will take a bit longer to get started.”
Orange City Council Employment and Economic Committee chair Cr Tony Mileto is pleased to see the list of projects.
“I’m delighted by the sheer scope of these projects,” Cr Tony Mileto said. “Our CBD, our local businesses deserve much more than a few new planter boxes. These plans aim to transform the way people move through our CBD, making it an attractive place to live and work.”
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As well as major projects, the Year One list of ‘Future City’ projects to begin in the current financial year includes:
- CBD Greening projects
- Orange Public Art Program
- Extending festoon and tree lighting
- Pop-up/Start-up Support
- A 4-tier program of business and retail support
- A system to ensure businesses have an entry level website.
- This would be followed by further development of an online sales capability
- Improvements to vacant CBD shop-fronts by adding appropriate heritage images
- Council to provide technical guidance and financial assistance to property owners to paint and repair their buildings
The 3-year timetable continues with a short-list of projects for years 2 and 3.