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Napier St: Look at me, I’ve had a facelift

There has been a buzz of excitement in Napier St since it was re-opened on Wednesday.Shopkeepers are delighted with the result of the $1.5 million project, which saw their street closed between Cressy and George Sts since May.Although trading has been difficult in the interim, they believe the pain has been worth it.‘‘We’re so happy with how it looks, it has already made a big difference to our business,’’ Kazmar Shoes owner Karen Butcher said.Denise Phillips at My Shop agreed, saying “we are all so excited about the return of traffic to Napier Street”.The works are part of the CBD makeover, with millions of dollars being spent to give the precinct a fresh look.The next stage will be the Waring Gardens and the riverfront, and next year the CBD section of Cressy St will be upgraded.In Napier St, businesses were forced to watch from the shop windows for four months while the road was torn up and the street redesigned. There was significant disruption to business, but they are hoping the new look will bring more people to their area.News in the Pastoral Times on Tuesday that the Federal Hotel had been sold and would get a revamp is seen as a further boost to this section of the CBD.Mrs Butcher said since the street was re-opened on Wednesday there has already been a “noticeable difference for our business’’.Mrs Phillips said the business owners are “all so excited about the return of traffic to Napier St”. ‘‘We have to acknowledge Paul, Jimmy and his crew for transforming our beautiful spot with as little inconvenience as possible to the traders of Napier St.‘‘Now the street is open and we hope to see lots of people coming into our shops again.’’Apart from the roadworks, there are now lots of plants in this section of Napier St.Edward River Council general manager Adam McSwain said there were more than 1500 plants with eight different species, most of which are native, adding a picturesque element to the street.Mayor Norm Brennan said, ‘‘I think it looks fantastic and I want to congratulate everyone involved.‘‘Napier Street was looking quite tired but the nature strips and rejuvenation of the road really brightens the street up.‘‘The Napier St Rejuvenation Project was the first in line for plans to give the Deniliquin CBD a major facelift over the next year.‘‘By this time next year there will be a big difference in what the Deniliquin CBD looks like and with the gardens getting an uplift too, there will be a real pleasant aesthetic appeal to the area,’’ Cr Brennan said.Some business owners believe it is not only the look of the street but the functionality with the parking and pedestrian crossings, that will make it a big step in the right direction for Deniliquin.‘‘Now that the street is open there’s plenty of parking and a great opportunity to come visit our shops,’’ Pet Wares owner Noel Appleby said.‘‘The street looks really good, we want to encourage everyone to come down to Napier St, visit our shops and even just walk around.‘‘I expect that now there is much greater access to our shops it will become much busier.’’The official opening of Napier St will be on September 28 with more details to be announced soon

Daniel Hughes