HARCOURT residents have welcomed state government funding aimed at improving the town’s centre.
Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum yesterday unveiled a $140,000 grant to redesign the urban landscape of Harcourt.
“The planning has been done,” he said.
“The Mount Alexander Shire have done that work and have done that work very well.
“This money is actually for the hard works on the ground so that the community will soon be able to see some significant benefits in this community.”
Mr Drum said it would take about four months to implement the changes, which will turn the highway back into a main street and involve other infrastructure work.
“The infrastructure of a major highway still divides this great little community,” he said.
“By turning a four-lane highway back into a two-lane street, as simple as things like streetscaping, roundabouts and that type of thing, you can give that sense of a highway coming back to a main street.”
Mount Alexander Shire Council economic development and tourism manager David Leathem said it would mean a lot for the town.
“We hope from that it can motivate businesses to look to invest and the locals to use the area more and for tourists to visit the area as well,” he said. “It’s the first tangible change to the town since the town was bypassed.”
Former Harcourt Progress Group chairman George Milford said the funding would help revive the town.
“We’d like the main street to be reduced to one lane on each side and increase the parks and make the town far more attractive to live in,” he said.
Mr Milford said he’d like to see a bookshop, coffee shop, antique store and bakery open in Harcourt and that he hoped the hotel would eventually reopen.
Under the project, pedestrian and cycle paths will also be installed and key intersections redesigned.