FRESH FACE: Gerard Bellgrove, Councillor Kaye Maguire and CCCI Manager Robyn Haig standing beside the row of Chinchilla St shopfronts due to receive some much-needed TLC as part of council's next placemaking project.
FRESH FACE: Gerard Bellgrove, Councillor Kaye Maguire and CCCI Manager Robyn Haig standing beside the row of Chinchilla St shopfronts due to receive some much-needed TLC as part of council's next placemaking project.

Calling all local artists: our shop fronts need you

A ROW of lonely, empty shopfronts in Chinchilla are next in line for an artistic makeover, following the successful placemaking initiative in Tara which led to the creation of a series of vibrant murals.

Placemaking refers to projects that enhance the atmosphere of a public space and can include design, artwork and landscaping, with ideas generated by the local community.

The buildings, located between 21-43 Chinchilla St, have been empty for some time following flood damage several years ago and were recently purchased by local businessman Gerard Bellgorve, owner of Ainsworth Motors.

The group of property owners in this strip along with the Chinchilla Community, Commerce & Industry In (CCCI) are now looking at ways to make this section of town a vibrant scene that will also attract potential new tenants.

Western Downs Regional Council's spokeswoman for Communities and Cultural Development Councillor Kaye Maguire said council was working closely with the Chinchilla community to further-energise activity in the region.

"Placemaking aligns with council's vision to beautify all of our towns and make them attractive places to live in and visit," Cr Maguire said.

"We are open for business in the Western Downs and we're keen to promote this forward-thinking attitude and uncover new and exciting investment opportunities right across our region.

"As part of this collaborative initiative, we are pleased to work closely with the CCCI and local businesses on this project, which we believe will also encourage more people to meet, dine and shop locally and stay a little longer in our region."

CCCI president Shannon McDermott said that this is a great initiative for the town.

"This is a highly visible area for travellers passing through Chinchilla, unfortunately it's a part of town that's been neglected for a period of time and, to be honest, is a bit of an eyesore that doesn't reflect the activity of our town," he said.

"We are excited to be working with the new owner on this project, which is hoped to generate some new interest for potential tenants as well as bring this area in line with the overall look and feel of the town.

"Bright and colourful shop fronts will increase local town pride as well as give a positive impression for travellers."

New Chinchilla shopfront owner, Mr Bellgrove said it was going to be a bit of an undertaking, but was excited to see the spaces transformed.

"These shops and their frontage have a lot of potential that's being under utilised right now so it will be great to see them looking their best again and with some hard world and dedication I think we can get this part of town looking much better."

CCCI manager Robyn Haig said the goal was to make this part of town appealing and approachable once more.

"This is the face of the town as you enter Chinchilla from the highway so it's in our best interest to get these four shop fronts looking fresh, bright and optimistic once more … Absolute highway frontage has a huge inherent value to business and these shops sitting empty actually present a great opportunity for someone to achieve visibility for their business."

Local businesses and residents are invited to get involved in the project by either donating items such as materials or volunteering their time to help prepare the shopfronts, which are in varying states of repair.

If you have any ideas for how to transform the space, have some artistic talents you'd like to share or just want to get involved, don't hesitate to contact Ms Haig on 0407 554 862 or via email on manager@chinchilla.org.au.


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