Twelve Ipswich Central businesses have taken up Ipswich City Council’s dollar-for-dollar Pilot Façade Improvement Program to sharpen up shopfronts in line with the nearby Nicholas Street precinct redevelopment.
Council committed $100,000 to the program, but such was the interest, it was oversubscribed.
However, councillors unanimously agreed this week to extend the funding to almost $137,000 to assist the 12 successful applications seeking a council allocation of up to $15,000 each.
The program was a pilot designed to provide an incentive to support business in improving their façades, as part of the overall strategy to stimulate wider investment by private business and property owners around the eligible pilot area and to tie in with the redevelopment of the Nicholas Street Precinct.
Mayor Teresa Harding thanked businesses for coming forward as partners and demonstrating their commitment to enhancing the city, by investing their own money and leveraging the program.
“We have increased the funding allocation by $37,000 due to the success and interest in this particular program and our commitment to supporting a vibrant city centre. We now eagerly await the results,” Mayor Harding said.
“I am excited to see some of the proposed works come to life, we hope this will encourage additional foot traffic in the area as well as see the community thrive.”
Deputy Mayor Marnie Doyle said the program encourages improvements that contribute to the street’s atmosphere, overall appeal and create an engaging experience for visitors.
She said feedback from the business community indicated they were “absolutely delighted” with the transformation to the CBD with many “highly motivated to make improvements to their business and shopfronts off the back of this program.”
“It is a great initiative by council and I commend businesses who want to improve the overall look of the CBD,” Cr Doyle said.
Cr Andrew Fechner, a Top of Town business owner/operator, said council was equally as passionate as small businesses in improving the look of shopfronts.
“Council is working together with private business and property owners to make improvements as part of the overall strategy to stimulate the area,” he said.
“This is a 50-50 match funding agreement and we thank those business owners who are taking a chance in a particularly difficult environment putting their own money to improve the look of our beautiful CBD. We thank them for being leaders.”
Economic and Industry Development Chair Cr Nicole Jonic said the response highlighted the significance of the pilot program and how successfully it was taken up by small businesses in the region.
“The Pilot Façade Improvement Program has been well received and has achieved its primary objectives of stimulating wider investment in the area and working with local suppliers to promote economic development in Ipswich Central,” Cr Jonic said.
“The improvements will contribute to the area’s atmosphere, overall appeal, and to create an engaging experience for locals and visitors. It will complement the Nicholas Street Precinct investment and other private investments in Ipswich Central.”
The successful applicants were informed at the end of November with numerous works starting in the next few weeks.
The works applied for include painting, lighting upgrades, access improvement, changing façade materials and branding. The applications received were from businesses in the Nicholas Street Precinct, Brisbane Street and Limestone Street and will all make a significant difference to the pilot area. Applications were received from businesses who have collaborated with their neighbours and others who are stand alone.
Cr Jonic said with such high interest to take part in the pilot, the program hopes to be extended in the near future.
Keep an eye out for works to start on Shape your Ipswich. https://shapeyouripswich.com.au/pilot-facade-improvement-incentive-program-1