Construction work is currently being undertaken on Stage 1 of the Lithgow CBD Revitalisation Action Plan. Stage 1 involves the redevelopment of Cook St Plaza and the construction of Eskbank St Square. The works have been partially funded by the Australian Government through Round 2 of the National Stronger Regions Fund (45%), and partially funded by Lithgow City Council (55%).
Cook Street Plaza
The physical works at Cook Street Plaza involves the renewal of the footpath surface through the plaza. The existing raised pedestrian threshold on Main Street is being redesigned and extended in length. A new raised pedestrian threshold is being constructed at the intersection of Main St Lane, Cook St and Cook Plaza. Wall trellis gardens are being constructed along the edges of the plaza along with new bench seating.
To allow for flexibility in the use of the plaza, movable custom planter box/seat systems will be installed. These planter/seats will provide greening and additional seating day-to-day but can be moved during large events to provide a more functional space.
Event power is also being supplied to the plaza to support a variety of events.
The works in Cook Street Plaza have been designed to:
- Improve capacity and facilities for small and large scale events
- Reinforce Cook St Plaza as a community focal point and key public domain space in the CBD
- Improve amenity for day-to-day use as a gathering place and as a place for eating off Main St
- Improve pedestrian access between the Eskbank St Carpark, Main St and the Lithgow Rail Interchange.
- Improved amenity through simplification of ground level elements
Marjorie Jackson Statue
Since it’s unveiling in 2000 the Marjorie Jackson Statue has been of significant importance to the local community and the focal point of Cook St Plaza. Maintaining the prominence of the statue, while achieving the outcomes listed in the Lithgow CBD Revitalisation Action Plan, was a key objective throughout the design of the plaza.
Early in the construction phase it was decided that the best way to protect the statue during the works was to carefully remove and store it. All works associated with the statue (including removal and storage) are being undertaken under the supervision of a specialist fine arts consultant.
Once the bulk of works have been completed within the plaza, and the risk of damage is over, Marjorie will be reinstalled with a new plinth. The new location of the statue will be metres from the original location, located centrally and moved slightly closer to the Main St.
When the original designs were taken to tender the received prices for the work were significantly higher than the budget. In order to proceed with the works Council opted to reduce the scope to within the budget. This involved the removal of the following items:
Awnings – Originally awnings were designed along the edge of the plaza
Lighting Catenary – The original designs included lighting catenary system over the plaza which was integrated into the design of the awnings. Options have been explored to construct a lighting catenary system through the plaza using free standing poles but this is subject to available budget.
Concept of free standing lighting catenary
Eskbank Street Square
The physical works at the intersection of Main Street and Eskbank Street involve the renewal of the road and footpath surface. Some of the kerbs at the intersection will be extended to provide more pedestrian space and create an additional public domain square for the CBD. Seating around the existing trees will be introduced and event power outlets will be provided to facilitate small and large scale events.
The work at the intersection has been designed to:
- Improve pedestrian amenity and provide better connectivity to Railway Parade and Mort Street. Improved connectivity to Alexandra Park on Railway Parade allowing it to be used during large events.
- Provide a node for smaller scale events (e.g. busking)
- During full Main Street closures provide a node for large scale events (e.g. markets, concerts)
- In the larger context of the revitalisation works the square provides passive traffic calming to further reinforce Main St as a pedestrian friendly zone
Lighting Catenary – The initial designs included a lighting catenary extending from each corner of the intersection to a feature light above the centre of the intersection. This was removed from the scope of works due to budget constraints but can be implemented at a later date, subject to available funding.
Raised Threshold – The initial designs involved having a raised pedestrian threshold extending through the intersection. This would have improved pedestrian accessibility, helped to further define the intersection as a square and improved its usability during large scale events. However RMS consent is required to modify signalised intersections and this design feature was not supported by the RMS.
Concept image prior to removal of raised threshold