BY JENAE MADDEN
In the heart of Hamilton, work is now underway to transform the James Street Plaza on Beaumont Street, set for completion mid-2021.
The overhaul will see improved paving, new street furniture and fresh landscaping.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the upgrade will transform the plaza into a safer, inclusive, and inviting place for local businesses and the community.
“James Street Plaza is an important space in the Beaumont Street shopping area,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Throughout our community engagement and regular discussions with business owners we have heard lots of ideas of how to improve the space, and in particular address concerns about safety at night.”
As well as community input, Newcastle Council have collaborated with the University of Newcastle and local historian Ruth Cotton, author of Hidden Hamilton.
“Etchings on ground paving and signage in the plaza have been informed by Ruth’s extensive research of Hamilton’s history” Newcastle Councillor Carol Duncan said.
Designs in the precinct will tell the story of Hamilton as a mining settlement, its rich European influence from the Lettopalena Italian migrant community and the impact of the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake, as well as honoring the land’s traditional ownership by the Awabakal and Worimi people.
The new James Street Plaza will include an interactive lighting display developed in collaboration with Newcastle University, intended to create interest and celebrate Hamilton’s unique character and heritage.
“Upgrades to seating, paving and landscaping will better facilitate activation of the space for markets and live music,” Cr Duncan said.
Community feedback on the lighting concept options will be sought towards the end of the construction period.