Frances to get town square

PROGRESS: Richard Pilmore and Naracoorte Lucindale Council Director of Operations Steve Bourne at the lot which will become the Frances Town Square.

PROGRESS: Richard Pilmore and Naracoorte Lucindale Council Director of Operations Steve Bourne at the lot which will become the Frances Town Square.

Frances could soon be home to a bustling town square, following a decision at Tuesday's council meeting.

The Naracoorte Lucindale council voted unanimously to make an offer to purchase a block of land, opposite the Frances General Store, from the Frances Folk Gathering committee with the intention of turning it into a town square.

President of the France Progress Association Richard Pilmore, speaking at the meeting, said a town square was "the jewel in the crown" of the Frances Masterplan.

"Frances is a small town and over the years it has become smaller and I think it is probably fair to say it has been neglected in recent years," he said.

"Our objective as the association is to improve the appearance and the amenities of the town and to make it a more desirable place to live, to work, to play and for people to visit and the masterplan is a blueprint for that.

"There is one project that I want to talk about - I feel it is the jewel in the crown and that is the development of a town square.

"This vacant block of land is opposite the Frances shop, adjacent to the Frances Hotel and is a pick up and drop off point for the school bus to and from Naracoorte.

"It is a natural meeting place for locals and for the visitors. Our wish is for council to acquire that block of land to be used as a community space for the development of a town square for locals and for visitors in years to come."

The land is the former site of the Catholic Church, which was demolished 10 years ago, and is privately owned by the Frances Folk Gathering committee.

The Folk Festival Gathering ceased operating last year, after 20 years of holding the event in the small town.

Mayor Erika Vickery said the Folk Festival Gathering committee was "very keen" to see the land being used for the community.

In a report tabled at the meeting, this location was considered most suitable as it creates a meeting point within the town, rather than the Recreation Grounds which is away from the key businesses in the town.

Felicity Brown from Laimiga Design, who has been working with the Association on the plans, provided a concept showing what could be done with the 1,027m2 site.

"The park provides a walkway from the Second and Fourth Street intersection, capturing the old Church pillars leading to a gazebo with a table and chair arrangement and a circular lawn with a nature play area towards the rear of the allotment," the report said.

"It is intended that the red-tailed black cockatoo street art will provide additional interest with the Frances Storyboard to be relocated to this site also.

"The design has been planned as a low maintenance proposal. Water will need to be sourced to enable a lawned area on the park. Frances is not serviced by SA water. This option is yet to be investigated."

The report said the land had been appraised by PPHS real estate who have suggested a purchase price of $2,500, plus purchasing costs and management of the new parcel of land would see an approximate operating cost between $1,000-$2,000 per year.