Work kicks off on Hamilton James Street Plaza upgrade

Hamilton is set to look a little fancier with work commencing, this week, on the upgrade of James Street Plaza.

The upgrade will breathe new life into the area with the plaza receiving a complete makeover including an overhaul of paving, new street furniture and landscaping, an interactive lighting display developed in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, as well as new artworks and ground etchings that acknowledge Hamilton’s long and storied history.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the overhaul will transform the the plaza into a safer, more inclusive and inviting space.

“James Street Plaza is an important space in the Beaumont Street shopping area, and this upgrade will improve the look and feel of the plaza as well as create a safer space for the community to enjoy,” she 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.”

Councillor Carol Duncan echoed the sentiment, adding the final design was a reflection of broad community feedback and contributions from local historian and Hidden Hamilton author Ruth Cotton.

“Etchings on ground paving and signage in the plaza have been informed by Ruth’s extensive research of Hamilton’s history – from its traditional owners, through the suburb’s history as a mining settlement, its rich European influence from the Lettopalena Italian migrant community, and the impact of the 1989 earthquake,” she said.

Cr Duncan added that improvements to facilities in the plaza would lead to more opportunities for the site to be used for community engagement.

“Upgrades to seating, paving and landscaping will better facilitate activation of the space for markets and live music,” Cr Duncan said.

“Once this valuable upgrade is complete, the design of James Street Plaza will reflect the rich culture of the suburb of Hamilton and will be an attractive central meeting place for people.”

Work is scheduled to be completed mid-2021 and feedback on lighting concept designs will be sought by City Of Newcastle toward the end of the construction period.