Rotorua CBD revitalisation highly commended

Rotorua Lakes Council's Inner City Revitalisation strategy has been highly commended in the 2015 LGNZ Excellence Awards.

Rotorua Lakes Council’s Inner City Revitalisation strategy has been highly commended in the 2015 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Excellence Awards. Rotorua’s innovative inner city revitalisation programme, led by district councillor Karen Hunt, is aimed at ‘bringing the heart and soul back to the city’ and is one of the priority goals in the council’s Rotorua 2030 vision.

Judges praised the scheme for its great commitment and partnership with business. They also hailed Rotorua Lakes Council’s recognition of the importance of urban design and breathing new life into the inner city – particularly in relation to the tourism industry.

The inner city revitalisation project was launched in 2013, partly in response to changing retail trends – such as the advent of online shopping, and increasing numbers of vacant shops in the CBD.

Focus groups were formed and a programme of initiatives launched to explore the community’s ideas for revitalising the CBD, including opening a community ‘Ideas Store’ in an empty shop in the main street.

Other initiatives that developed from the project ranged from introducing free parking, weekly competitions, an ‘I love Rotorua’ wall and community Scrub Day for cleaning up the CBD, through to pop-up galleries, an annual Tulip Festival and the Light Rotorua campaign to decorate the city.

A hallmark of the work undertaken to date has been collaborative partnerships between the council and local businesses, retailers, community organisations and other agencies. In its new long-term plan Rotorua Lakes Council has committed $1.2 million a year for the next three years for inner city revitalisation work, and $800,000 a year for the subsequent seven years of the plan.

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