New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) is to give the Huatoki Plaza a green makeover in the first step towards creating a sustainable and more welcoming CBD.
The move follows the two successful mayoral forums, the CBD 2050 Forum in October last year and the CBD 2050 Summit in May, when stakeholders met to discuss the city centre's future.
Out will go much of the concrete on the top level of the plaza and the tarmac in James Lane. In will come lawn and native plants such as nīkau to soften the concrete edges and help filter the breeze through the plaza.
Other changes include new seats with USB charging ports, new lighting in the plaza and James Lane, a pathway connecting Devon and Ariki streets. The big yellow roof that currently forms a wind tunnel through the plaza will also be removed.
The roof will go to the community's zero waste centre being developed on Colson Road.
NPDC is also working with the owners of buildings next to James Lane about opening into the laneway and creating more vibrancy.
"Imagine coming to meet friends for lunch or sit and have a coffee in a green space bang in the middle of town. Our community has told us they want a CBD that welcomes families and puts pedestrians first, a place people want to visit and hang out," says NPDC Regulatory Solutions Manager, Katrina Brunton.
"The CBD is the business centre of our district as well as the cultural and social hub. We all have a stake in success. NPDC is listening to our community and we'll be working together for its sustainable future."
Participants in the two CBD forums highlighted themes to improve city centre. These included more green spaces, such as "pocket parks", a greater focus on pedestrians with more paths to get round the CBD, family-friendly spaces, such as safe areas where kids can play, public and shared transport options, like e-scooters, consistent opening hours among retailers and more homes in the CBD.