"We can all get back to shopping locally again" - down the lower end of Clarinda Street, that is.
These are the words of Mayor Ken Keith OAM, who was in the company of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack on Tuesday.
Parkes residents have been able to access the southern end of the main street for a number of weeks but the multi-million dollar work to revitalise the area is now officially complete.
With a few words and a ribbon cutting, Tuesday morning's launch comes ahead of the expected opening in December of Parkes' new multipurpose centre in Cooke Park, which will house the annual Elvis Festival.
It all forms part of the $8.5 million Main Street Revitalisation Project and multipurpose centre development that began in August 2019 and almost half of it funded by the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund.
The project was delivered under the directorship of Parkes Shire Council's Ben Howard within the time frame and budget.
Transforming Parkes' CBD into a vibrant and visually appealing town centre had long been a priority for council, with more than three years of planning and consultation with the business community.
"The results speak for themselves," Cr Keith said.
"The Parkes CBD is the main commercial centre for the shire, servicing a regional catchment of around 40,000 people.
"When the multipurpose centre opens in Cooke Park, it will host new events that would not otherwise have come to the shire, such as large regional theatre and concert events, business events and weddings."
Cr Keith and Mr Howard thanked all involved, especially the surrounding businesses for their cooperation and patience.
We're very excited. We've done a lot of improvements to our business too to complement what council has done.Allan Blatch
Mr McCormack said the new landscaping, trees, garden beds and newly paved footpaths inject new life and vitality into the CBD and he hopes it will attract many visitors.
"The project includes new smart poles that provide not only lighting and speakers, but can also be equipped with accessories, such as lighting projectors and Wi-Fi, which once installed will boost internet access for all in the CBD, support existing businesses and attract more businesses," he said.
"Tourism and visitor markets are drivers for growth in Parkes, and the streetscape revitalisation and the coming multipurpose centre will enable real growth in the town, benefiting community events and helping secure new ones.
"The two projects together will attract visitors to a greater number of events and boost job opportunities for event personnel, accommodation workers, hospitality workers and retail.
"Things happen in Parkes... And we have a business chamber here who knows the value of small businesses."
Representing the Parkes Chamber of Commerce and business owners of Regional Business Supplies, Marty and Gregor Sammut-Paul are thrilled with the finished product.
"We love it, the street is very welcoming now," Marty said.
"With the new lights, you can definitely see the difference at night. You go from here where it's so light to the next block over and it's so dim."
Marty and Gregor said the work will make a difference for the Elvis Festival's street parade, enticing more people to gather further south in the street, and perhaps paves the way for any potential twilight events.
Allan Blatch from AA Blatch, one of the businesses located in lower Clarinda Street, is also happy to see the area receive a face lift.
"It was time for a bit of love to go into the street ...It's just a much better place to work from," Allan said.
"The council has put trees in which is great, a bit of shade... It's just a much more pleasant environment.
"It's not ideal when roadworks are being done but it's definitely worth it and we're very excited.
"We've done a lot of improvements to our business too to complement what council has done."
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