City of Newcastle has begun work on its transformation of James Street Plaza to revitalise the space and attract more visitors, families, and shoppers to the popular spot.
The upgrade will see an overhaul of paving, new street furniture and landscaping, and new artworks and ground etchings acknowledging Hamilton’s rich history.
Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes said the upgrade will transform the plaza into a more safe, inclusive, and inviting place for local businesses and the community.
“James Street Plaza is an important space in the Beaumont Street shopping area, and this upgrade will improve the look and feel of the plaza as well as create a safer space for the community to enjoy,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Throughout our community engagement and regular discussions with business owners we have heard lots of ideas of how to improve the space, and in particular address concerns about safety at night.”
Upgrades to the plaza designed to improve activity in the space include an interactive lighting display developed in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, intended to create interest and celebrate Hamilton’s unique character and heritage.
Councillor Carol Duncan said the design reflects the broad feedback from the community, as well as contributions from local historian Ruth Cotton, author of Hidden Hamilton.
“Etchings on ground paving and signage in the plaza have been informed by Ruth’s extensive research of Hamilton’s history – from its traditional owners, through the suburb’s history as a mining settlement, its rich European influence from the Lettopalena Italian migrant community, and the impact of the 1989 earthquake,” Cr Duncan said.
“Upgrades to seating, paving and landscaping will better facilitate activation of the space for markets and live music.
“Once this valuable upgrade is complete, the design of James Street Plaza will reflect the rich culture of the suburb of Hamilton and will be an attractive central meeting place for people.”
Community feedback on the lighting concept options will be sought towards the end of the construction period.
Works are underway and are expected to be completed by mid 2021.