When I returned to Wollongong in 2010 after 30 years in Glebe/Paddington/Redfern/Surry Hills, Crown Street Mall looked like this:
There were some memorable moments in the Mall between then and the end of 2012.
Some found the “birdcage” a bit dark, and at night it could be a dangerous area.
So Council decided to dig it all up and start again. And for most of this year they have been digging – quite frankly an ugly process. In addition a whole new shopping complex is arising at one end.
But yesterday the Mall temporarily reopened.
The mall’s transformation will include decorations for the Christmas season, a synthetic ice rink and activities for children planned by Destination Wollongong.
General manager Mark Sleigh said Destination Wollongong had been planning a Christmas precinct for children to enjoy while their parents did their Christmas shopping.
Santa would be there every day.
“And Big Fat Smile are doing a community art project,” he said.
Optus shop sales assistant Hayley Anderson said it was nice to finally see the barricades down in the mall.
“I forgot what it was like, it’s been so blocked off,” she said.
Yes, there is a further stage of construction next year. Here is what it looked like yesterday around noon.
There are those who think the Spotted Gums are not a good idea. One of the main reasons for the redevelopment is clear in these next two. Note the cameras!