Green additions breathe new life into Civic Plaza

Wollongong council’s infrastructure and works director Peter Kofod, in Civic Plaza. Picture: ANDY ZAKELIGrassed areas and a tree-lined promenade will breathe new life into Wollongong’s cultural hub, replacing the cold concrete and paving of Civic Plaza.Fences have gone up and work on the $400,000 makeover begins this week. The project promises to transform the under-utilised plaza next to the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre into an inner-city sanctuary, resembling Melbourne City Square and the tree-lined promenades of Canberra.The new-look Civic Plaza will feature grassed areas, trees, seating along the edges, new lighting and improved pedestrian access and safety. Work should end in December.Wollongong City Council consulted the NSW Government architect earlier this year on plans to revitalise Civic Plaza, Crown St Mall and the Wollongong Town Hall to turn the area into a vibrant city centre.A $250,000 federal grant through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program has allowed work on the first of the projects – the Civic Plaza transformation – to begin.Planning for Wollongong Town Hall’s refurbishment is also underway, with a development application being assessed. The council’s director of infrastructure and works Peter Kofod said the upgrade would lift the look and feel of the city’s cultural precinct and provide a great new spot to relax in the heart of the city. “The project involves simplifying the current multi levels across the plaza and creating a new grassed area, with perimeter concrete seating which will be under-lit and shaded by trees along the edges,” Mr Kofod said.

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