Split over Keen Street facelift


BEAUTY comes at a price.

And, in the case of Lismore's Keen Street, that price is car parking spaces.

That was the message council staff tried to convey to business owners who attended a meeting on an upgrade of the street last night.

All generally agreed the street did need a facelift, but the room was divided between those who were happy with the council's final plans and those who were concerned about a loss of parking.

As part of the new design about 30 spaces will be lost between Magellan and Woodlark streets with the introduction of angled parking in the centre of the road.

One business owner, who did not wish to be identified, thought the new plans would push people out of the central business district towards the Lismore Shopping Square.

"There will be less parking spaces and less time to park," he said.

"Just one kilometre up the road there will be the new shopping square, so people might start to think 'why should I come downtown?'"

Lismore Unlimited Opportu- nities spokesman Barry Robinson said the beautification would eventually have the opposite effect.

"We talk about competing with the square, but once the new trees are fully grown in Molesworth and Keen streets it will be shady, cooler...the CBD will be better," he said.

The $1.5 million upgrade will begin in full force on January 2 and is due to be completed by April 15.

The stretch of road between Magellan and Woodlark streets will be closed to vehicles for two weeks from January 2.

Council's roads and parks manager Garry Hemsworth said Keen Street would eventually look very similar to the up- graded Molesworth Street.

Mr Hemsworth also tried to assure business owners the work would be as quick and painless as possible.

"We're not a bunch of cowboys just out there doing what we think is best," he said.

"Hopefully we can give you some degree of confidence that we will be trying to minimise the impact on business as much as possible. The end product will be well worth it."

A 30-space car park at the northern end of Keen Street will also be opened before Christmas.

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