One of the main woes of local business owners and shoppers in the Cessnock central business district is the lack of parking.
Cessnock councillor Ian Olsen will table a notice of motion at tonight's council meeting, requesting the general manager to investigate the design and location of a multi-level parking station in central Cessnock.
Cr Olsen said the new carpark should be the next priority of the Cessnock CBD renewal project, which is currently underway.
The first stage of works includes wayfinding signage, cycling opportunities and pedestrian friendly accesses, with new street furniture and planter boxes to be installed.
Cr Olsen said the biggest complaint he has received during the CBD improvement works is about the lack of parking available, and that functionality should come first.
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"Council has the opportunity to investigate the best location and type of parking Cessnock requires helping stop escape spending and supporting local business," his notice of motion states.
"This should be our priority before we do any other work on improvements as it will give the biggest benefit to both shoppers and business."
Cr Olsen said the Charlton Street carpark between Cooper and Hall streets (behind the Commonwealth Bank) would be the ideal location, as it is council-owned land and central to the main street and shopping centres.
"The main street is crying out for help," he said.
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He said a portion of the carpark could be dedicated to staff parking, as a lot of the car parking spaces in the CBD are taken up by local workers, and that it should be free for all motorists to park there.
Cr Olsen says council would be able to allocate funds from the reserve for future development for the investigation and design, and when it is shovel-ready, council can then review funding to build the structure.
The works at the intersection of Cooper and Charlton Street are due to be complete by the end of September.
This project forms part of the council's Cessnock CBD Master Plan and subsequent Cessnock Commercial Precinct Project.