Council is about to start trialling a series of evening place activation initiatives to encourage the development of a local night time economy. The first of these activations, After Dark at The Levee is happening in Central Maitland on Friday 22 April between 6.00pm and 9.00pm.
Central Maitland’s night time economy has evolved over the past five years, with a number of new restaurants and bars opening that have different offerings.
Council’s Coordinator City and Visitor Economy Martin Payne says, ‘The development of a night time economy is a significant issue facing cities around the globe. Almost 90% of visitors to The Levee currently visit between 9.00am and 3.00pm, however through creative uses of the public space residents and visitors will be encouraged to enjoy more of what Central Maitland has to offer in the evening’.
After Dark at The Levee is a one off place activation. It is an opportunity for Council to pilot this idea, and to inform a range of future After Dark place activations that could take place anywhere across Maitland.
Once the sun sets over The Levee this Friday 22 April, After Dark will bring a vibrant street atmosphere to The Shared Zone. Ambient lighting, live music, and performances will attract people to the space, but the end goal of the activation is to showcase what is already on offer at The Levee in the evenings.
A variety of the local cafés, shops and restaurants will be open throughout the evening. There will also be four food trucks to complement the current offerings of cafés and restaurants in the precinct.
‘The After Dark place activation differs significantly from other events that Council holds at The Levee, like Maitland Taste or Riverlights. Those events take over the space, whereas place activation is about creating an atmosphere or experience that literally ‘activates’ or enriches what is there already.
‘Through this initiative we hope to generate activity that supports local business by growing evening patronage that continues into the future. We are also trying to showcase the city’s built environment highlighted by façade lighting throughout The Shared Zone’, said Mr Payne.
Place activation is just one contributor to growing a diverse and vibrant night time economy in Maitland. A successful night time economy also relies on a number of other factors including the initiative and vision of local businesses. Council is working in partnership with a number of businesses, encouraging them to consider extending their trading hours to help expand the offering available across the city in the evenings.
For more information about After Dark at The Levee visit theleveemaitland.com.au/After-Dark