Over the last year, shared spaces in a number of towns and villages in the Upper Lachlan Shire have been revitalised under the Streets as Shared Spaces project.
Streets and shared spaces in Crookwell, Taralga and Laggan have benefited from $215,000 in funding from the NSW Government’s Streets as Shared Spaces funding program, aimed at activating public spaces through temporary urban design modifications to streetscapes.
The various items and installations that were created and installed served as living demonstrations of elements that could potentially be added to towns and villages in the Shire, with the advantage of residents being able to see the concepts in place and provide their feedback.
Manager of Environment and Planning, Vivian Straw, described the project as a positive and practical way to engage public feedback.
"We see streets as places for people, for those who live, work or visit, and for all ages, from our very youngest to oldest members of our society,” he said.
“This project presented an opportunity to DO planning, rather than create policies and plans. Both are vitally important for our towns, this just provided a different method.
The project has improved the streetscape and supported communities and businesses during the pandemic, and contributed to healthier, safer, liveable and more prosperous places; and provided an opportunity to enable people to think about their public spaces.
Taralga, Crookwell and Laggan were the key initial focus villages of the project. Building on this, and on the success of these initial installations, Council intends to do work more broadly to its villages to improve streetscapes and public spaces, eventually relocating temporary items to other locations.
In Taralga, community consultation highlighted the need to reduce traffic speeds through town. Road narrowing, planter boxes, street greening and art sculptures will add to traffic calming and, as well as contribute to beautification and community wellbeing.
The Taralga Arts Group advised Council on artists and projects for the upcoming installation of a series of animals that have some important messages for drivers of vehicles. The structures will form an art trail along the main street. See if you can find all ten animals! Taralga Public School students will also become artists by decorating planter boxes.
Artists in the Southern Tablelands region developed sculptures that reflected the character of Taralga and could act as a mechanism for traffic calming. Locals were involved in choosing the two artists, Heidi McGeoch and Al Phemister. Look out for the final art pieces, due for installation in September.
Crookwell & Laggan
In Crookwell, a mural showcasing local artist Cullen Ball’s “A Piece of Time” depicts the arrival of a train at Crookwell Railway Station.
Sally O’Neill brightened up the amenities block in Crookwell with a medley of fantastic animals.
Sally also held a workshop with Crookwell Primary School students. They did a superb job decorating the parklet with their favourite animals.
Through his planter box and planter box-seat creations, local landscaper Dan Hartwell added his artistic flair to the streets. Various green plants now thread through the towns, including a selection of street exercise facilities and infrastructure.
A parklet was added (to both Crookwell and Laggan) to extend outdoor dining areas and to repurpose public spaces providing amenity space for the community. These parklets are to be shared around the Shire to help support any interested businesses that might need some additional support during the COVID pandemic.
The community formally celebrated the project at the "Celebrate our Streets" event. Rotary did a great job providing a barbeque lunch, and there were a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy including busking in the main street by local musical talent.
Mr Straw said he wanted to thank the community for embracing the project.
“We gratefully acknowledge the participation of locals and some amazingly talented entrepreneurs, artists, business people and community groups for contributing to our shared spaces,” he said
“Going forwards, we want to continue this conversation, to hear what the community thinks about their places."
The council wishes to thank everyone in the community who has supported and contributed to this project to make it possible.