Lights pave way to re­vamp

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

THE SWITCH has been turned on for Mt Al­bert town cen­tre’s facelift.

About 50 people gath­ered out­side the Triniti of Sil­ver cafe on the cor­ner of New North and Car­ring­ton roads on Fri­day night as a tree wrapped in lights was turned on.

The $9500 project marks the start of the town cen­tre’s re­ju­ve­na­tion, Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board’s Glenda Fryer says.

As the board’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment leader, Fryer is charged with turn­ing Mt Al­bert town cen­tre into a lively and thriv­ing vil­lage.

This year $3.3 mil­lion will be pumped into the project but Fryer says most of that will cover pre-up­grade con­sul­ta­tion.

Money will be al­lo­cated over the next two years for phys­i­cal up­grades in­clud­ing bet­ter pedes­trian ac­cess, pub­lic art, plants and light­ing so the area is safe.

Mt Al­bert town cen­tre ‘‘hasn’t got a fo­cus’’ or cen­tral space, such as a square,’’ Fryer says.

The tree ‘‘shines as a beacon that things are about to start in Mt Al­bert’’, she says.

For 10 years businesses have been told fund­ing would come but it was stalled for sev­eral rea­sons, in­clud­ing the train sta­tion up­grade, she says.

A town square will be de­vel­oped in what is now a car park next to 911 New North Rd af­ter Auck­land Coun­cil and Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board se­cured a longterm lease last year.

The $5 mil­lion project will see a ramp con­nect the newly re­built train sta­tion and the shop­ping area.

The board also paid for the Mt Al­bert Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion’s CCTV net­work.

The tree will be lit ev­ery night and Triniti of Sil­ver cafe has agreed to pay the elec­tric­ity bill.

Fryer says the board is grate­ful for the cafe’s ded­i­ca­tion to the town cen­tre.

New be­gin­nings: The Mt Al­bert town cen­tre tree is lit up, sig­ni­fy­ing the re­ju­ve­na­tion of the busi­ness area.

Cre­at­ing heart: Glenda Fryer speaks at the cer­e­mony.

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