A $7 million project to revitalise the Pioneer Women's and Ellen Melville Hall and adjacent Freyberg Square at the High St precinct in central Auckland is open for public feedback.
Concept designs show the removal of the Freyberg Place roadway to create an integrated public space and community hall.
The proposals will provide a better pedestrian connection from High Street to Courthouse Lane and the recently upgraded O'Connell Street, building on the success of that upgrade.
Concrete seating terraces and steps extend up the bank towards the Metropolis, interspersed with native tree and shrub plantings and an interactive water feature.
The hall, designed by Auckland City Council architect Tibor Donner, was named after New Zealand's first female councillor Ellen Melville and completed in 1962.
Melville, elected to Auckland City Council in 1913, suggested that a hall be built for women's societies and as a memorial to the pioneer women of the province.
Due to the war, this project was delayed and it was not until after Ellen's death that the project was finally given the green flag to go ahead. The hall opened in September 1962.
Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers said: "City centre resident numbers have tripled to 30,000 in the last 12 years and we need our community facilities to catch up.
"The hall and the square are both already popular and well used; but with these enhancements, they will be able to become a real draw card, meeting the needs of people living and working in this part of the city, while creating more foot traffic for local retailers and landowners."
Auckland design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid said improving the square and the hall as one project will create a better, more integrated result and save money.
The upgrade of Freyberg Place is costing $4 million funded from the city centre targeted rate. The $3 million refurbishment of Ellen Melville Hall is funded by the Waitemata Local Board.
The consultation will give the public, other users and visitors the opportunity to fine tune the designs and ensure that what is delivered meets the wider community needs.
Construction is expected to take nine to 12 months, starting in winter 2016. The council is committed to minimising disruption during construction, so is also asking for input on how to retain activity and available public space during the construction period.
Feedback on the draft designs closes on September 27.
There are a number of on-site drop-in sessions and an open day on Saturday 12 September.
For information and to complete an online feedback form visit: www.shapeauckland.co.nz.