The State Government today revealed its latest pre-budget sweetener, a bid to back its “city vibrancy” rhetoric with $7.3 million to be included in next month’s economic report.
That will be matched by the Adelaide City Council, whose members have been locked in secret talks related to a “City Infrastructure Development” over the past fortnight.
The project will include a new upgrade to Bank Street, after a previous attempt to rejuvenate the space with parklets became an own goal, with local traders complaining they were being used as toilets as much as dining areas.
It will also see Leigh Street, Topham Mall, Bentham Street and Pitt Street included in a holistic overhaul to create a pedestrian and cycling corridor through the city to the Riverbank and Adelaide Oval.
It will feature upgraded intersections, new paving, lighting, trees, landscaping, street furniture and public art.
The Government said procurement would be overseen by the Industry Participation Advocate “to ensure as much local content as possible is used”.
The council said consultation feedback suggested city users wanted more greenery, a focus on pedestrians, improved lighting and street art, while retaining the existing character and atmosphere of the city’s small streets.
“Investing in the public realm to create more welcoming spaces for people and encourage private investment is good for the city, and we’re delighted the State Government shares our vision,” said Lord Mayor Martin Haese in a statement.
“This project is all about upgrading the main small street spine stretching from the Market to Riverbank… [it] has the potential to realise up to $70 million in economic activity.”
Haese said 69 new small venues had already blossomed through the city since the “small bars” liquor licensing deregulation, and this project “will help build the momentum the city needs to continue to grow and encourage unique retailers and businesses to invest and thrive”.
The minister who oversaw that reform, City and Planning Minister John Rau, said the revitalisation “of Adelaide’s under-utilised small streets and laneways is energising the city”.
“Improvements to this important pedestrian link through the city will complement the Government’s changes to encourage more people to invest in our CBD,” he said.
He said the 2013 Small Venue Licence changes had generated around 800 jobs and $65 million worth of economic activity.
Design work on the project will begin immediately with feedback to be sought from local traders and residents.
Building is expected to start later this year.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said there had been “an incredible transformation on Leigh Street and Peel Street over the past three years and we want that excitement and activity extended all the way from the Central Markets to the Riverbank”.
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