Majestic Square is in for a change and the public is being invited to give ideas and feedback for the new look.
The redevelopment project is a collaboration between Mainstreet Whanganui and Whanganui District Council's town centre regeneration committee, and is an effort to attract more people to the area on a daily basis.
Town centre regeneration project manager Ellen Young said part of the community engagement process includes presenting a design that was drafted in 2016 as part of a wider town planning process.
The design reinstates the view from Cooks Gardens to the Sarjeant Gallery, and integrates Majestic Square's existing water feature into steps while adding grass terraces and a children's water play area.
"The key thing for me is to bring people in here during the week because it's a really common occurrence that there's no one here and that's for a variety of reasons," Young said.
"We've got to make sure those things are ticked off in a way the community wants because it's essentially their space, and we want a diverse group of people to spend time here and there's simple and exciting ways to do that.
"The design integrates the two elevations really well so there's quite large grassy areas for people to hang out on, and it opens up the area so we don't have to have all of the handrails that block the flow of people walking up there."
Young said it's a layout that would also work well for events.
"One of the big things we got back from event organisers is that there's nowhere to settle in.
"The whole point of [the redevelopment] is to activate this space so that it works for events, because we've got really great events that happen in this space, but they are quite congested and quite disconnected, it's hard to navigate them.
"The three levels in the design creates space where you can set a picnic blanket down and stay there for a good couple of hours."
Young said the community project will be funded through fundraising and some seed funding through council.
A timeline for how the project will proceed is dependent on funding, but Young said she hoped to have a budget and design finalised by mid-2020.
Over the past few months, Majestic Square has held several events which have attracted hundreds of people, such as the Festival of Cultures and two services to call for an end to violence.
Mainstreet Whanganui general manager Des Warahi said it was time to have another look at the functionality of Majestic Square while remembering the effort and funds put in by those who built it.
"I think the challenge for us at Mainstreet is that we have a facility that's used every day and then we have a facility that's used for events, and it's always hard to get the right mix.
"If you look at the Festival of Cultures and Vintage Weekend, this place is packed but day to day it has to suit a different audience."
Warahi said people are looking for vibrancy, and a redeveloped Majestic Square could lead to people spending more time in the CBD.
"The more vibrant this area can be, the better it's going to be for our businesses and social services in town."
Warahi said there had been a good level of collaboration between all parties.
"I think the biggest thing is with the regeneration group, council and us, is that we're really keen to work together.
"We probably didn't do it that well in the past but we're certainly doing it now."
Warahi said he plans to give a presentation on the redevelopment project at Mainstreet Whanganui's annual meeting.
The public can have their say on the redevelopment via the council website or by chatting with Des Warahi and Ellen Young at locations throughout Whanganui over the next two weeks.
The pair will be at the Whanganui River Markets on November 30, and will be set up at Majestic Square from 11.30am to 1.30pm on December 4 and December 5.
A public meeting will be held at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre on December 10.