The look and feel of a revitalised Maitland Heritage Mall will, in part, be determined next week with the appointment of an urban designer.
Maitland City Council invited six firms with national and international experience to tender for the project and councillors will select the best applicant for the job on Tuesday night.
“It’s a crucial point in terms of where to from here,” council’s strategic projects executive manager Wayne Cone said. The decision follows the third meeting of the Vibrant River City (VRC) reference panel.
With the news the project is about to hit the ground, the panel members split into groups to discuss one-way traffic circulation options for the mall.
Mr Cone said council officers had taken the information on board and would help the councillors make a decision.
The panel’s focus then turned to developing the appeal and diversity of the city centre, considering what types of activities could be offered to attract people in the future.
Mr Cone said the discussion focused on the type of activities and facilities that might appeal to teenagers, parents of toddlers, business people and visiting retirees.
Free Wi-Fi along the length of High Street; a focus on heritage buildings, stories and interpretative signage; a playground; a variety of restaurants and space for “hanging out” were all put forward as appealing to these groups.
The VRC Reference Panel will meet again on August 17, by which stage it is anticipated an urban designer will have been appointed to lead the mall project.