New $35 million CBD civic plaza opens with a splash
AT long last, Ipswich’s heart is beating once again.
Thousands of people flocked to the official opening of the CBD’s new one hectare civic plaza on Saturday.
The $35 million Tulmur Place forms part of stage two of the $250 million redevelopment of the city centre.
It features a performance stage, large screen, pavilions and grassed areas and overlooks the Riverheart Parklands.
It should be a popular spot during the summer with its water play area already a hit with the little ones and there are events planned in the plaza every day up until December 20.
Tulmur is an Indigenous term for Ipswich and the Gateebil Gurrnung Aboriginal Corporation’s Yugara Traditional Dancers performed a smoking ceremony to open the space.
Indigenous artworks adorns the plaza’s pavilions.
The council hopes it will prove to be the perfect link within the heart of the city between Riverlink Shopping Centre, Ipswich Art Gallery, the Top of Town and the rest of the CBD.
The Ipswich Central Library, which opens onto the plaza, will open on December 7 and the new children’s library and nine-level council administration building are on track to be finished mid next year as part of stage three of the Nicholas Street Precinct.
A new one-way vehicle road between Brisbane and Bell streets will be installed to make visiting the space easier.
A retail, food and entertainment precinct is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
Mayor Teresa Harding said the opening of Tulmur Place was just the beginning.
“We want this to be a place that you are all proud to call your own, a space for culture, events, the arts, festivals and entertainment,” she said.
“We’re going to have 800 council workers in that (administration) building and I think that will attract a lot of businesses here.
“(An agreement with a cinema operator) is with the lawyers at the moment.
“We hope to announce that pretty soon. That will be an anchor tenant.
“I think the people of Ipswich have waited for 10 years. I hope the wait has been worth it.
“I think it’s just going to get bigger and better.”
Deputy mayor and Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee chair Marnie Doyle said the council has eight heads of agreement with businesses for its future retail, food and entertainment precinct.
“We’ve received new interest in the last couple of weeks from some really exciting offerings,” she said.
“We look forward to be able to share that early in the new year once we get those locked away.
“We look forward to attracting not only residents but visitors and then moving forward it’s only the beginning.
“We’ve got a masterplan we’re developing and it will be a very strategic focus supported by our new planning scheme we’re developing to attract investors, who will create other spaces (throughout the CBD) to compliment this.”
Trottie Becke owner Alexis Cornish was inundated with customers on Saturday as they walked along the old mall to Tulmur Place.
Her family has operated the store in the mall for 26 years and moved into a new space across from the old one just two years ago.
She took over the shop from parents Julie and Kevin and said she owed it to the support of loyal customers over the past couple of years as foot traffic dramatically dropped off.
“We’ve been OK,” she said.
“It could have been a lot better with walk past customers which we hope (the redevelopment) will start to bring in.
“Today has been fabulous … pretty wild which is great.
“It’s just great to see people in the mall again.”
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.