Work will start on the redevelopment of Murray Bridge's riverfront before the end of the year after the federal government committed $1.3 million to the project.
The city's council will contribute about $1.7 million to the first wave of works, which will include a new boat ramp at the southern end of Sturt Reserve.
Also planned are:
- A pontoon, car parks and a boat wash-down area to complement the boat ramp
- A three-metre wide shared path along the riverfront
- Public toilets attached to the new rowing club building
- A landing in front of the rowing club, for launching boats and recreation
- Improved lawn tennis facilities
- More public art
The works would begin in the second half of this year and be finished in about 18 months.
In announcing the funding, Member for Barker Tony Pasin described Sturt Reserve as Murray Bridge's town square, capable of being developed into an iconic tourism destination.
With Thomas Foods International yet to announce a rebuild, the time had been right for the federal government to support Murray Bridge, he said: through both the newly announced funding and previous funding for upgrades of the rowing club and TAFE campus.
"We understand the eocnomic impact the TFI fire had on this community," he said.
"We're hoping to deliver some economic stimulus as we await the rebuild."
Mayor Brenton Lewis said the funding announcement was the payoff after three years of planning.
Like a patchwork quilt, the four precincts envisioned in the council's riverfront strategy – of which the area between the existing boat ramp and the community club was one – would be completed bit by bit.
"Over the next couple of years there'll be announcements about other packages of work, subject to us being able to fund them," he said.
"We'll be pursuing partnerships with the state government and federal government wherever possible.
"People's rates and taxes are what enable us to do these projects people have told us, en masse, they want ... Adelaide Road, Swanport Road, the riverfront, footpaths.
"This council is spending serious money on real infrastructure."
Mr Pasin said he anticipated more federal investment in the riverfront over time.
Later stages of the riverfront plan call for Murray Bridge's tourism information centre and war memorial to be relocated to a historic and tourism precinct centred on the wharf, among other objectives.
The $1.3 million announced on Tuesday will come from the federal government's Building Better Regions Fund.