Multimillion-dollar plans to revitalise Hastings' city centre are receiving praise from CBD retailers "excited" about proposals to bring more vibrancy to the heart of the city.
Hastings District Council's proposed Hastings City Centre Strategy would invest $4.5 million over four years.
The proposals cover three sections.
A total of $1.6m is earmarked for an upgrade to the central mall, providing "play provision for old and young", an enhanced stage area, and better links to Civic Square.
Another $1.4m would be spent on turning Heretaunga St East into an entertainment precinct, with provision of additional outdoor dining area and facade enhancements.
Under the proposals, $1.5m would be used to upgrade Civic Square, where existing facilities would be redesigned.
Hastings City Business Association general manager Susan McDade said the plans, which would go to public consultation as part of the council's Long Term Plan, showed the council was fulfilling past promises.
"We are very excited to see these plans finally come to up for consultation. The HCBA has worked closely with HDC over the past year to identify the areas most in need of investment.
"The flexibility of the proposed entertainment precinct plans mean that Hastings is in a great position to move with development, supporting the businesses growth rather than trying to push them into a mould.
"The centre city mall refresh is long overdue and a welcome addition to attract people to stay and play. As we have seen in cases around the world the best way to attract new business is to create a vibrant people-centred environment.
"These plans show this new council is fulfilling their promise to make the CBD a priority. You can't have a strong body without a strong heart. Hastings City is the Heart of Hawke's Bay."
The investment would be funded by loans, and repayments funded through general rates.
The council forecasted an average household would have a rates increase of $2.65 (0.11 per cent) a year, for the next four year, as a result.
The council's full Long Term Plan document will be available for public consultation from April 6.