CITY centre business people in Limerick are being urged to take part in a public debate on plans to give a major makeover to the main shopping areas.
Urban designer Nicholas de Jong has drawn up radical plans to make city centre streets more shopper-friendly.
It is part of a strategy drawn up by the local authority to combat the inroads made by the growing number of suburban shopping malls.
The design plan will be put on display at City Hall next Thursday evening when planners will answer questions and deal with any concerns from the business community.
The revitalisation of the city centre will involve the full pedestrianisation of the busiest section of the O’Connell Street, the city’s main thoroughfare.
Other sections of O’Connell Street will have new traffic plans to give priority to pedestrians while other remodelling works will include the widening of footpaths and extensive landscaping.
William Street is also earmarked for major landscaping works.
Limerick City manager Tom Mackey said: “All of the work will include the installation of high quality surface finishes, distinctive new street furniture, improved public lighting and improved landscaping.”
He said the plan also provides for new traffic regulations to control the movement of vehicles and the kind of vehicles which will be allowed into the city centre.
Submissions and observations in respect of the city centre development plan must be lodged with the city council by Friday, May 11.
Limerick Chamber of Commerce and the city centre traders will be represented at Thursday’s meeting.
A spokesman for the traders said: “The plan seem to be a very exciting one and will make the city centre more accessible to shoppers.”
The city centre enjoyed a significant business comeback in late 2006, with record Christmas turnover levels, following a slump the previous year.
There had been growing concern that many retail outlets would be forced to close up shop and move to suburban shopping centres.