Council plans to make Bridge Street great again

Bridge Street, Murray Bridge. Photo: File.
Bridge Street, Murray Bridge. Photo: File.

Fresh paint and digitally-printed signage is the Murray Bridge council's latest fix for empty shops in the city's main street.

The council will offer grants of up to $5000 to property owners who commit to repainting their buildings, replacing old signage or fixing up the front of their shops.

It will also spend $12,000 on decals which would "promote key community messages", perhaps including the current Make It Yours campaign, in vacant shop windows.

The grants will target commercial properties in Bridge, Sixth, Seventh and other streets in the central business district, though a draft version of the guidelines presented to councillors suggested they could be made available to anyone in the district.

Property owners will have to match any grants dollar for dollar - a point Councillor Wayne Thorley was emphatic about at the council's meeting on Monday night.

"Council is being generous in trying to smarten up the main street, but I still think there's a need for some obligation," he said.

Preference will also be given to applicants who pledge to use local suppliers for any work, at the suggestion of Cr Tyson Matthews.

"At the end of the day, this is basically free money," he said.

"I want to see the region benefit."

Members of the public had complained that Bridge Street gave visitors a poor impression of the city, the council's development and regulation manager said in a report to councillors.

Obsolete signage, poor paintwork and empty shops were among the points raised with the council.

The grant scheme replaces a previous plan to encourage pop-up shops to move into the empty spaces, based on consultation with property managers, real estate agents and other councils who all said it wouldn't work.

Property owners are due to be formally notified about the project next week, and grants handed out in December.