CBD Upgrade: We asked some CBD retailers…
Orange City Council is touting a $30 million two-year upgrade of Central Business District as the centrepiece of its draft budget — now on public display for your comment.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said an upgrade of Orange’s CBD was one of the main messages they heard during their recent ‘Where to Next?’ community-wide conversation, that happened as part of developing the city’s new Community Strategic Plan.
Council has put up $10 million to be spent over two years on refurbishing the CBD and will be looking to secure another $20 million through government grants.
“When we asked people what they loved about Orange and what they wanted to see happen in the future, we heard how important the heart of Orange is, both when it comes to shopping, doing business and gathering together for big community events,” said Cr Kidd.
“There’s a big push in the Strategic Plan for the council to do more to support the local economy and enable jobs to grow. One of the biggest employment sectors in Orange is retail and a major shot-in–the-arm for the CBD is a key part of that.”
Allocating the money is just the first step towards a new-look CBD for Orange, but Council has assured ratepayers that they will be consulting with expert designers and putting the best ideas out there for the community to have their say.
Orange City Council General Manager Garry Styles said they want a CBD “local residents can be proud of, that attracts key retailers, that has the infrastructure, technology and space that lets us grow.”
It all sounds good, but let’s see what the community thinks. We asked a few of our CBD retailers for their thoughts and this is what they had to say.
Ben Lander, Landers Music
From the point of view of a consumer, there’s things that would make the main street better and I've been interested for a long time in the idea of walking mall type of area in Anson Street. It’s probably not practical in our mainstreet, but in one of the streets off Summer Street, I think that would be a nice thing in the town. It would be good to have some more public spaces where people can gather, open dining and that sort of thing. From a business point of view, I think anything that encourages people to be in the precinct would be good.
Melissa Gregory, Bobbies Clothing
I think it is fantastic and very overdue. I want to see more beautification down the main street and in the CBD area — some plantings, planter boxes, gardens, trees, benches — just to beautify it, to make it attractive to people when they come here visiting from Sydney or elsewhere for the Wine Festival or Food Week.
People need a reason, when they come here, to drive down the main street and get excited and I don't think you get that, at the moment.
There's been talk of the closing off of Anson Street into a mall; I think there are some pros and cons for that, so it would depend on what they plan on doing.
Nic Drage, Games n More
Beautification is always a great thing; make the street more attractive, make it look good and if things look good, it makes people feel good and when they feel good they are more inclined to spend some money and support the local economy.
I probably don't agree with a pedestrian mall for Anson Street. I've seen other places that have done it and it doesn't really work.
It would be fantastic if Council could do something with the vacant shops, just put something up to make it look a little more attractive to people coming past so there's not a lot of empty space. I know it is not really Council's job, but maybe they could involve themselves with the landlords to do something about that.
And I think more, close-by parking would be fantastic, it is one thing that pretty much everybody coming in has a gripe with, the parking situation.
Terry Nagle, Mary & Tex Curious Emporium
Anson Street: make it a mall! That would be great... and more seating up the street. Parking is also big issue, because a lot of people come here to shop, and they've only got one hour, it is not enough time and that's probably the biggest issue. Maybe build a multi-level car park behind Woolworths there, something like that and charge people. Parking, you talk to anybody, is the main issue, but a mall in Anson Street would be great.
Annette Tyack, The Iris Patch
“The street is probably a bit tired, you could clean up the footpaths, they certainly need a bit of upgrading... I think a mall for Anson Street would probably be a good idea. It would create a more casual community space, that would be a good I think.
I often hear customers complain about parking around here, so if they could put more parking in that would be good too.
Phillip Schwebel, Collins Bookstore
The main street does need improvement, there is no doubt about that. The whole street needs some livening up I reckon... make it more presentable and interesting. You go to some towns that look stunning, like Leura for example. You go down the main street and it looks like things are happening, it is attractive to the eye and looks more inviting. Orange is a great City, I really love Orange, but there is certainly some room for improvement
“I think what we need more than anything else is parking. Parking is certainly a big issue in Orange, that car park behind Woolworths there needs to be improved a lot to give people something central to make sure they can always get a park and stay for sometime.