Lower Victoria Ave is in line for a tart-up that could include plants, seating, artwork or lighting.
The Whanganui District Council project will be 90 per cent funded by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Innovating Streets fund. It's the council's second successful application to the fund, with the first - for Drews Ave - now in the "community co-design" phase.
The fund gives councils the chance to trial semi-permanent upgrades to create "more vibrant and people-friendly cities".
The council's Town Centre Regeneration Project manager Ellen Young said as well as benefiting the immediate area, the upgrade would have a flow-on effect of boosting the whole central business district in the wake of Covid-19.
"Lower Victoria Ave is the gateway to the central business district and so we have a huge opportunity to transform our town centre to create a stunning first impression for visitors arriving across the bridge from out of town," Young said.
"As Whanganui's primary dining and nightlife location, lower Victoria Ave is the ideal place for a hospitality and entertainment zone that both visitors and locals can enjoy."
A meeting has been held with people who will be affected and "the feedback was hugely positive, with businesses really appreciative of us going to them early in the process", Young said.
There was a range of ways to create an inviting atmosphere and signal to passers-by that they're entering a special area of town, she said.
"As well as installing seating this might include adding greenery, painting a large-scale artwork on the road – providing a nice link from the Whanganui River to the main street – or adding hanging artwork or festoon lighting to create a spectacular ceiling to enclose the outdoor area."
Installing seating and revitalising the pedestrian routes between Drews Ave and lower Victoria Ave would encourage people to come into the area on foot, Young said.
"The identity of Drews Ave is very different from the identity of lower Victoria Ave – our vision is to create two complementary spaces that interrelate and support each other."
The project will be completed by June 2021. Data will then be collected to evaluate the effect of the changes and the design will be reviewed and modified where needed.
The council has been asked how much funding it will receive from NZTA.