Marketplace tenants talk about Muswellbrook Shire Council acquisition

FOR 25 years, Sue White has had at least one tobacco shop at Muswellbrook Marketplace.

At least it’s good it’s staying in town and someone out of town hasn’t bought it.

King of the Pack employee Donna Kilby

Today, she owns the King of the Pack tobacconist in the local complex.

Her daughter Jess Perry, who grew up watching her look after the businesses, had an optimistic outlook following the announcement of their new landlord.

WORKING TOGETHER: King of the Pack's Jess Perry, Donna Kilby, and Debbie Farley at the Muswellbrook Marketplace shop this week.

WORKING TOGETHER: King of the Pack's Jess Perry, Donna Kilby, and Debbie Farley at the Muswellbrook Marketplace shop this week.

On Tuesday morning, during their 2017/18 budget breakfast, Muswellbrook Shire Council reported it had exchanged contracts to buy Muswellbrook Marketplace for $34.25 million.

Naturally, business owners were curious where this would lead them in the future, but positivity seemed to be the overriding theme.

And, a few suggestions were thrown around for the centre’s future including a Kmart, a shoe shop and a sport store.

Ms Perry said it would be terrific for the rent to not rise and to see more shops added.

“It would be great if it gets bigger and better [with] more shops – coffee shops, sport stores – a centre where there is something for everybody,” she said.

Fellow worker Donna Kilby said it was good the building was bought locally.

“At least it’s staying in town; someone out of town hasn’t bought it,” she said.

“That’s really good.

“And [council has] done a lot for Campbell’s Corner.”

Ms Perry said she hoped it would become something people would be amazed by when they walked in.

During his address on Tuesday morning, Councillor Scott Bailey said the acquisition would help to better connect the Marketplace with Muswellbrook’s main street.

“[It’s] a key community desire and a key community priority of the Town Centre Masterplan,” he said.

A number of other areas in the shire received attention in the 2017/18 budget.

Cr Bailey said a record $12.4 million was available to fund the renewal of community assets, the construction of new assets and the retirement of debt.

It was also announced that from 2018, the Muswellbrook Art Prize – now worth $70,000 – would be an annual event, rather than occurring every two years.

To see the Muswellbrook Shire Council 2017/18 budget in full, visit www.muswellbrook.nsw.gov.au