The revitalisation of Cessnock’s central business district has received a significant funding boost from the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions program.
Cessnock City Council secured $3.5 million from the latest round of the Resources for Regions program, which delivers funding for improved infrastructure in mining-affected communities.
The grant includes $1.4 million for stage two of the Cessnock CBD Revitalisation Masterplan (a $2.8 million project), and $2.1 million for the masterplan’s third stage (a $4.3 million project).
The first stage of the masterplan was funded by a $950,000 dollar-for-dollar grant from the Federal Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund in December 2015, and work is due to start soon.
The masterplan aims to develop a town square in the Cessnock CBD at the junction of Charlton and Cooper Streets, between the Cessnock City Centre and Cessnock Plaza shopping centres.
It also aims to improve access for users through delivering a regional playground at Bridges Hill and formalising pedestrian access to recreational parks.
Council will provide the balance of the funding, resulting in more than $7 million in infrastructure improvements to the CBD.
Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent said he is “extremely excited” the council has been successful again under this program, following its joint application with Singleton Council for the $16.7 million Broke and Hermitage Road and cycleway project, which opened in August last year.
“The announcement is a turning point for our CBD; it will encourage business investment and provide a central focal point for community activity,” Cr Pynsent said.
”Works to the public domain will enhance the amenity of the town centre and improve circulation and connectivity for pedestrians and vehicles.
“The third stage is aimed at diversifying recreational opportunities and improving access for our residents.
“We will now move forward in the construction of a regional playground at Bridges Hill and continue the work on improving pedestrian access.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald said the renewal of the Cessnock CBD is an important social and economic development.
“Renewal will stimulate jobs and community activity in the heart of the city,” he said.
Other funding sources for the CBD upgrade project include $300,000 from the National Stronger Regions Fund, $49,750 from the NSW Government’s Social Housing Community Infrastructure Fund and $10,000 from Cessnock Wine Country Lions Club.