The enhancement of Hastings’ city centre is officially underway with the adoption of a public spaces revitalisation plan and work beginning on Eastbourne Street upgrades.
The Hastings District Council community development committee adopted the draft Hastings City Centre Public Spaces Revitalisation Plan this week, which identifies 23 projects to focus on.
The plan arises from the 2013-33 Hastings City Centre Strategy and is supported by feedback gained through the Long Term Plan consultation.
After that consultation, $4.5 million was set aside to initially invest in three priority areas over the next four years – the Central Plaza, the Heretaunga Street East Block entertainment precinct and Civic Square.
At the same time a number of roading upgrades were identified, including Eastbourne Street where work has already begun between Russell and Warren Streets to build new footpaths and add more trees and lighting.
Overall, the revitalisation plan sets out a roadmap of work, which also includes two green “pocket park” open spaces in the Central Plaza, increased outdoor dining opportunities and more entertainment spaces.
Heretaunga Street East is envisaged as a welcoming pedestrian-friendly hospitality precinct that builds on the existing character and street scene.
Civic Square is considered vitally important to the cultural and historical provenance of the city and as such the plan is to enhance it as a cultural focal point with improved landscaping, enhanced entranceways and car parking that does not detract from the pedestrian experience.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the central city is one of the council’s priorities, and that this plan is the result of many years’ work.
“This has been worked on for a long time and our community has come on the journey with us.
“What we have now is an exciting plan that sets the path for making our beautiful city even more vibrant and attractive.”
The plan was jointly prepared by Hastings District Council and Urbanismplus – a specialist urban design practice, whose director Kobus Mentz said it was driven by a desire to make Hastings an exciting destination in terms of dining, recreation and experiential activities.
“We have tried to find the most cost-effective ways to improve the pedestrian experience, such as laneways and better footpaths, at the same time being conscious of maintaining good, convenient parking.
“It’s happening in parallel with the developments at the Opera House, and as with the cultural elements at Civic Square this plan will enrich the authentic, cultural character that’s already there.”
Councillor and Hastings city centre development portfolio leader Damon Harvey said the council has made a significant commitment to the Hastings CBD.
“As well as kick-starting many projects as part of our Hastings Alive CBD revitalisation plan, we are investing in an entertainment precinct with the earthquake strengthening of the Opera House and a new-look plaza and new laneway linkages to breathe new life into the CBD.”
He said that along with council’s commitment, there was also strong confidence on the part of developers who were investing in commercial developments such as the former Hawke’s Bay Today building.
“Hastings is certainly alive and well.”
Hastings City Business Association chairman Craig Riddiford said the best part of the plan was that funding for almost all of it was already in council’s budgets.
“This means we can see progress in the very near future; before the end of this financial year.
“The other very pleasing aspect is that council has undertaken to get input from the business people within each improvement area as it undergoes final design.”
Posted: 3 March 2019