A milestone in the history of Morwell occurred today (Thursday) when the Morwell CBD Revitalisation project was officially opened.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester opened the nearly $3.75 million revitalisation of Morwell’s Central Business District in Commercial Road and Tarwin Street, as part of the Future Morwell project. The Federal Government, State Government and Latrobe City Council contributed funding to the project.
The works delivered new public open space by creating 12 parklets and a community gathering space in Tarwin Street, complete with a shade structure, café seating and casual seating. These spaces will entice people to gather and encourage events to be held in the area.
The project also created more than 500m2 of feature gardens, with additional areas of garden throughout.
To bring Morwell into the future, the project included a sensor that counts pedestrians on the street and LED street lighting that can be programmed to be dimmed or brightened. These lights also have the capacity to be fitted with motion sensors in the future, enabling lights to brighten automatically when someone walks beneath them.
There is also decorative lighting within parklets, free public WiFi and wireless mobile phone chargers integrated into street furniture. All parklets have access to 240 volt electricity for the staging of events. Three-phase electricity can be accessed at Legacy Place and the Gathering Place in Tarwin Street.
All parklets have an in-built watering system to supply trees and flower beds. Furniture to be installed in The Gathering Place will be movable to make way for special events.
The project will encourage people to visit, walk and spend time in the heart of Morwell. The vision for a village atmosphere will appeal to residents and visitors alike, now and into the future.
The project also rebranded Morwell as the Town of Gardens, based on the iconic Morwell Centenary Rose Garden.
“The revitalisation of Morwell’s CBD has created a new sense of pride in the heart of town, as well a fresh identity that brings Morwell into the twenty-first century,” Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said.
“I look forward to seeing the exciting events and activities that will take place in the new spaces, and no doubt locals and visitors alike will appreciate the access to free WiFi, mobile phone chargers and parklets.
“The facelift for Morwell will bring more people to the heart of town to shop at local businesses and visit such attractions as Latrobe Regional Gallery.”
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said that it was fantastic to see so many people able to benefit from the project which first began in response to the Hazelwood Mine Fire in 2014.
“This project was all about creating a brighter future for Morwell and the Latrobe Valley, and we were pleased to be able to contribute nearly $2 million of Victorian Government funding to improve the liveability and pride of place for Morwell,” she said.
“As we develop the businesses and industries who call the Latrobe Valley home, we also want it to be a well-equipped place to live and visit, which is why it’s great to see this project reach completion and people able to enjoy the area and facilities.”
Advance Morwell President John Guy said the new roadworks in Commercial Road and Tarwin Street modernise the area.
“The works have provided much-needed seating and gathering places throughout Commercial Road and Tarwin Street,” he said.
“These areas have experienced major change over the years with improvements being made to the Morwell CBD. This project, following intensive community consultation, is by far the most successful for the rebirth of the area.”
The Future Morwell Project also includes the Morwell Entrance Project that included the planting of trees, the creation of garden beds adjacent to the Commercial Road freeway exit and a unique Morwell town sign installed at the freeway.
The project was driven by the Future Morwell Committee, chaired by Cr Graeme Middlemiss, and including John Bellerby and Ray Burgess (Morwell Traders), John Guy OAM (Advance Morwell), Carolyne Boothman (Morwell Community Recovery Committee), and Marika Gacs (Latrobe City Business Tourism Association).