For more than 10 years now, our inner city streets have been undergoing upgrades, and while a big focus in the past three years has been on the Heretaunga St East block, Council is soon turning its attention back to the western side of Hastings …
It’s all part of the Hastings City Centre Revitalisation Plan – a series of projects upgrading streets and footpaths, adding pocket parks and laneways and outdoor eating spaces – all designed to add vibrancy to the heart of Hastings, enhancing its appeal for visiting, shopping, and working.
It all began 10 years ago when the King St toilets were built and street upgrades began in the Heretaunga West 200 and 300 blocks, along with full streetscape upgrades including snakelights, trees planted, fully paved footpaths, umbrellas, limestone kerbs and raised pedestrian crossings.
In the last few years a laneway has also been built in the Heretaunga St West 200 block, with the Eastern side of the inner city undergoing more street upgrades, a makeover of Landmarks Square and the creation of a multi-use carpark on Warren St behind Common Room that is closed to become an outdoor entertainment area at night.
With Waka Kotahi Innovating Streets funding we’ve made Heretaunga St East between Warren St and Karamu Rd more pedestrian friendly, and a place in the city where we can close the street to traffic to hold celebrations.
Businesses, buildings and more …
These vibrancy plan initiatives and the efforts of building and business owners have seen new bars, eateries, craft and homeware shops popping up across the city.
The spin-off from all of this has clearly encouraged new businesses to invest in Hastings. This is a true partnership with our city landlords and business community.
More than $100m of public and private investment in the redevelopment of heritage buildings and city improvements has occurred over the past five years.
Our long-running façade enhancement scheme, focused on our heritage buildings, has enabled owners of private buildings to refurbish their properties to a fine heritage standard; great examples are the many buildings in Queen Street.
The old Post Office building, the old Public Trust and the old HB Herald Tribune building as well as many more have been earthquake strengthened, refurbished and protected by our city landlords for the next 100 years.
And there’s been the large investment into earthquake-strengthening and refurbishing our heritage Opera House and Municipal Buildings, which will make Toitoi - Hawke’s Bay Art and Events Centre the heart of our entertainment and hospitality hub, this work also encouraging private investment to build a Quest hotel in the inner city, due to open at the end of the year.
Activations draw people into town
Bringing Hastings Alive! has also involved commissioning installations and activations, both permanent and temporary – to encourage people into the city to see what is new.
Since 2019 there have been regular temporary art installations in Civic Square, Albert Square and the inner city mall – from inflatable cacti to glow in the dark UV spaghetti, trumpet flowers and glowing orbs in the fountain.
These free public art displays have been very popular, with families coming to the city to check them out and experiencing something new and exciting.
The arrival of COVID-19 interrupted the programme these installations but the community can expect to see more popping up now and then to surprise and delight.
Where to next …
To continue this work over the next five years our focus will return to the West side of the inner city again, with ongoing street upgrades and more.
A big part of the revitalisation strategy is to encourage people to live in the city: people create the vibrancy and the buzz.
To enable us to achieve that, we altered planning rules to allow people to develop residential apartments in the upper floors within the central city.
We are getting the ball rolling with a resource consent being prepared that will allow 18 residential units and two commercial tenancies to be built in a Council-owned building at 207 Queen Street.
We will be calling on the community to give us feedback on this development soon, and there will be many more cool apartments being built over the next five years.
Over the coming months we have major events planned for the city, including an expanded Blossom Festival in Spring, and a harvest festival in Autumn.
Many smaller activations are also planned – all of it designed to encourage people into the city and to give our city businesses and our residents a boost in this post-COVID world.
It’s all about bringing people together to celebrate and have fun.
We really want to build on the creativity and new investment that’s coming into Hastings – we’ve done a lot but there’s heaps more we want to do...
4 August 2022
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