It has been little more than a year since Tuncurry's Manning Street underwent its ambitious 7-Day Makeover.
Billed as a project that would transform Tuncurry from a thoroughfare to a destination, the week-long undertaking brought together hundreds of people from the local community and saw a variety of installations and artworks added to the street's once drab exterior.
But did the project succeed in its aim to bring more people to Tuncurry's CBD and stimulate the local economy?
Despite the successive catastrophes of the past nine months, a number of business-owners agree that the makeover has brought more foot traffic to Manning Street and generated a more positive atmosphere around town.
Even in these times there are less empty shops, which I think is a good sign.Elwin Taylor
Tuncurry Post Office licensee, Warwick Thompson, says the large wharf-style structure that sits outside the post office regularly attracts the interest of passersby.
"We quite often get people walking past, taking photos," Mr Thompson said.
"There are often people sitting down and relaxing."
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Just Patchwork owners, Gai and Elwin Taylor, agree that the street has benefitted from the transformation, which they believe is reflected in the amount of businesses currently open.
"Even in these times there are less empty shops, which I think is a good sign," Mr Taylor said.
"Some businesses have really benefitted," Mrs Taylor added.
Perry's Fruit and Vegetables is one business that has clearly benefitted from the transformation.
After installing a bench table and seating outside the shop in a follow-up to the makeover in October, owner Tara Hamilton said people were now able to sit and enjoy the space rather than having to move on straightaway.
"It's been fantastic," she said.
"It gives people somewhere to sit and talk and makes the street look busy."
Yet despite the positives, all of the business-owners agree it's been very hard to measure the real impact of the makeover in the face of what's transpired since late 2019.
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MidCoast Council economic development officer, Robyn Brennan, said the combination of bushfires, drought and COVID-19 had seen businesses in the area endure an extraordinarily challenging year, with tourist numbers down throughout all the major holiday periods.
But in spite of this, she believed the makeover had still helped to highlight Tuncurry as its own unique destination.
"A lot of the feedback we've had is that people didn't realise Tuncurry was a different town (from Forster)," Ms Brennan said.
"I think there's also been a significant change in the way the community and the businesses view that space."
Ms Brennan said bringing businesses, the community and council together for the project was something her team was very proud of.
"It was a really good example of when you give ownership back to the community they take up the challenge," she said.
Mrs Hamilton believed the community spirit the makeover generated was one of the biggest positives to come out of the project.
"It was great," she said.
"We all worked really well together."
For this reason, as well as the further beautification of the town, the majority of business-owners expressed a desire to see more done around the CBD.
"I think it needs more," Mrs Taylor said.
"I'd like to see more colour."
Mrs Hamilton agreed, saying she'd like to see a revamp at the north-eastern end of the street.
"When we've all got time and we can all get together we should be doing something up that end," she said.
Ms Brennan said there was still some money in trust from the original $53,000 the community raised and a number of additional installations were planned for Manning Street, including a series of storyboards explaining the history and heritage of Tuncurry.
However, a follow-up working bee as part of the 12-month anniversary had to be cancelled because of COVID-19.
"I'd love to see a belated 12-month birthday party," Ms Brennan said.
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