AFTER much anticipation, the Renew Cooma initiative was officially launched on Tuesday with 40 locals having already signalled their intentions to become part of the project set to revitalise Cooma's CBD.
Following the Cooma Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night, the Renew Cooma Committee (RCC) presented their model for reinvigorating the local retail sector.
At the heart of the model is the desire to fill the empty shops in Cooma with local artisans and communinty groups, who will take advantage of a 30 day rolling licence agreement to establish shops promoting cultural and social vibrancy.
The RCC has targeted five empty shops to be filled by the October long weekend to capitalise on the expected influx of tourists to the region.
Members of the chamber and the local business community were on hand to hear Suzanne Dunning, chair of the RCC, present the Renew Cooma model.
Ms Dunning spoke passionately about the need to regenerate the CBD and how the Renew Cooma approach would increase patronage in local shops.
"It will allow for a more active area for people to shop and browse. It is low cost and has been a proven success around the nation," Ms Dunning said.
"A priority will be given to locally made and handmade goods. We are careful not to put in shops which will directly compete with existing businesses."
RCC is a sub-comittee of the CCC and will implement the Renew Cooma model with a framework similar to that of Renew Newcastle which transformed the Newcastle CBD from a run-down derelict precinct, into a centre of culutral activity.
President of the CCC, Kathy Kelly praised Ms Dunning and the RCC for their hard work in establishing the Renew Cooma initiative.
"Thank you to Suzanne Dunning and the RCC for the enormous amount of work they have put into this," Ms Kelly said.
"The Chamber supports this approach, there isn't too many financial costs incurred. We need the energy to make this successful."
Three vacant premises on Vale St have been earmarked for the 'pop up' shops with the RCC concentrating their resources on the Sharp St/Vale St area of the CBD.
An information night is set for Monday, September 22 at the Snowy Hydro Centre to answer questions relating to Renew Cooma.