Maitland residents are being encouraged to come up with ideas to transform local streets into shared public spaces.
The ideas will become part of a new program from the NSW Government to increase places for people to safely walk, cycle or exercise.
Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison says the fund will allow councils to introduce measures to increase public space and allow for easier social distancing.
“Simple changes like widening footpaths or closing a street to vehicles on weekends will make our community healthier, more walkable and easier to maintain social-distancing,” she said.
“I’d encourage everyone in the community to think creatively about what small changes we can make that will make our lives better.”
Through the Streets as Shared Spaces fund councils will be able to apply for grants of up to $100,000 for short term, quick response projects and up to $1 million for longer term projects.
Community input will be essential in helping choose projects that will benefit their communities.
An online social pinpoint map allows users to click directly on a specific area and leave their comments and ideas.
The program is designed to help deliver simple, short-term projects that will provide fast relief, as well as longer-term strategic projects that will help communities transition out of the pandemic.
“Creating better shared public spaces will make it easier to maintain social distancing while staying active,” Ms Aitchison said.
“The projects themselves may also create jobs for the construction industry and encourage economic activity in Maitland.”
Visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s website for more information.