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Innovating Streets work aims to create sanctuary in inner Hastings

Innovating streets

The transformation of Heretaunga St East is about to enter a new phase, with work starting on more enhancements to this precinct that’s the home of hospitality in Hastings city.

Decorative gates, festoon lighting and bunting, raised pedestrian paving areas and a “painted street” project are just some of the initiatives aimed at making this area even more people-friendly for visitors and businesses.

It’s the second stage of the Hastings Eastside Eat Street project that got underway last year, and has been made possible by $300,000 funding received from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets pilot fund.

The purpose of the fund is to trial initiatives aimed at creating safer, healthier, more vibrant and people-friendly towns and cities.

A key component of the fund is that the ideas and initiatives are co-designed with local community members and businesses.

Jess Soutar Barron, a business owner on the East 200 block, led the project, working alongside other block tenants to decide the best way to use the grant.

“We wanted to create a sanctuary in the city so the Waka Kotahi grant could benefit the wider community and not just our businesses. It was important to us that we made the block light and bright and fun. We thought back to how the Blossom Parades of the 1950s had drawn people to the city, that sense of play and creativity was something that really inspired the project,” Miss Soutar-Barron said.

The motifs used in the road painting and those appearing on the bunting reflect that Blossom Parade heritage as well as the new sculpture near the block, Prunus Awanui.

The motif used in the decorative gates and cobblestones comes directly from the façade of the former Dominion Restaurant.  It is a recurring Zigzag Moderne design in the city’s Art Deco portfolio, and has strong synergies with the Māori kaokao design, which is of significance to Heretaunga.

To assist with the project, Council engaged local research team FOLKL to take a citizen audit to gauge what people would like to see in the area. The findings placed most importance on pedestrians being prioritised, vehicles being restricted for events on the street, slowing traffic and improving lighting.

Hastings councillor Wendy Schollum said this was a wonderful opportunity for the community to trial a new way of using vibrant Eat Street, without using ratepayer funds.

“The trial plan plays with a small section of our CBD to prioritise people and connecting places of activity, which is why the 200 block was the best fit for this fund.”

The ideas for the 200 block, however, had been carefully designed to allow them to be expanded in the future, if the trial proved successful.

“This will allow us to use the successes from the trial to create innovative links between our Arts Precinct and the rest of CBD.

The project was in addition to the CBD Revitalisation Plan, which was currently underway - focused on the wider CBD, including the vital West Side retail precinct.

The project is due to start in early May and be completed by mid-June.

12 July 2021

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