Work has started on the $935,000 revitalisation of Junction Court in the Nowra CBD.
Shoalhaven City Council crews began the works on Monday (October 11) with the aim to make the Junction Court area more pedestrian-oriented.
The works have been funded by the NSW State Government's Your High Street grant program.
Over the last seven months the Nowra CBD Revitalisation Strategy Committee and Shoalhaven council have been working on several significant projects, including the Junction Court makeover, to support local business sustainability and growth.
The upgrade follows the successful 'Nowra at Night' event that was held at the location in April.
The transformation also aims to allow a better space for ongoing future events and people to gather, along with more space for pedestrians to move through the space.
The concept for the upgrade, which features a ground mural over the paths and street, was prepared by landscape consultant Place Score, in consultation with council's staff and the CBD Revitalisation Committee and input from local business owners.
Key elements of the project include improving the look and feel of the precinct, improving pedestrian comfort and safety along with shading and seating installation and children play and activity areas.
But the upgrade work hasn't been welcomed by all, with local property owners John Macey and John Bowden both concerned the impact of closing the area to through traffic will have on small businesses in the area who have already been struggling with COVID shutdowns.
With the work starting the same week as the area was coming out of some of its COVID restrictions, they called for the work to be rescheduled until early in the new year to at least allow those small businesses to get back on their feet.
However, Junction Court has now been closed to vehicle traffic and a safety fence installed around the site.
Pedestrian access will be maintained though the duration of construction, but pedestrian are urged to to take care in the vicinity of the works and abide by signage and the instruction of construction staff.
The area will remain closed to traffic for around three months, with work expected to be completed by Friday, December 10.
Most of the construction work will be undertaken by council's own construction crews, supplemented by specialist sub-contractors as required.
Mayor Amanda Findley said councillors and the CBD Revitalisation Committee were thrilled that Junction Court was undergoing improvements to make the area more pedestrian-oriented.
"I'm delighted to see the works get underway to transform the Junction Court area into a more community-friendly space to attract more visitors to Nowra CBD," Cr Findley said.
"The addition of seating, tables and a play zone will encourage the community to use the space and to come and spend more time in the Nowra CBD.
"While the works will see some disturbance to adjacent local businesses, we appreciate the community's patience while these works are undertaken."