NSW councils will be eligible for up to $1 million funding support to revitalise their main streets, helping them drive a locally led economic recovery from a devastating year of natural disasters.
Local Government NSW(LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the NSW Government’s $15 million Your High Street grant program, announced this week, would help councils support businesses with the growth in their local villages through more outdoor dining and performances, street greening and traffic calming.
“Local governments are grateful the NSW Government listened to our calls earlier this year for funding to improve local outdoor areas and public spaces,” Cr Scott said.
“It is vital to help get local businesses back on their feet after the impacts of drought, bushfire and COVID-19 lockdowns. LGNSW called for the Government to inject $100 million into outdoor spaces in its recent State Budget submission to support that recovery, so this grant program is a welcome start.
“The funding is specifically designed to enable councils to improve the amenity of their ‘high streets’ to boost economic recovery for local businesses and create local jobs.
“This investment will help to create an environment that benefits the community and businesses alike.”
Cr Scott said councils already invested significant time and resources to ensure public spaces used by the public, including restaurants and cafes for outdoor dining, beaches, parks and other outdoor places, were clean, vibrant, well-designed, well-maintained and effectively regulated to ensure safety.
The new grant provides funding for councils to create space for dining outdoors, outdoor performance spaces, wider footpaths, tree planting, traffic calming, lighting or public art.
“Local governments put people in the heart of everything we do. This funding will be used by councils to implement permanent changes to rejuvenate our high streets and bring people back to them,” Cr Scott said.
“Councils can now improve walkability, expand public and outdoor performance space, support our local businesses to create jobs and contribute to local character.
“The goal is to draw people outdoors in a COVID-safe way and bring a boost to local businesses, who are creating local jobs.
“This announcement will make it easier for councils to support their local cafes and restaurants to operate outdoors, creating jobs for their areas in the process and is a rewarding outcome of LGNSW advocacy.”
The new grant program follows streamlining of State outdoor dining approvals processes announced in October.
Applications for the funding are open until 29 January 2021.