A RUPANYUP group hopes a new retail precinct in the town will increase in tourism and grow the economy.
Enterprise Rupanyup, or E-Rup, was set up to revitalise the town centre.
Chairman Malcolm Uhe said the group wanted to develop a community retail precinct and have more shops opening in the town, instead of closing.
“Enterprise Rupanyup is an incorporation that has been running for a few years now,” he said.
“The whole idea came from a community forum the shire ran in 2013.
“From there, there was a clear project needed – to open shops in town.
“There was a lot of empty buildings in the main street and people wanted to change that.”
Mr Uhe said a steering group was then formed with representatives from various organisations.
That led to a feasibility study before the company was set up last year.
Mr Uhe said the group was now making progress and designs had been created for a retail precinct.
“We’ve started thinking about what it might look like,” he said.
“The main thing we are trying to do now is get funding.
“We’ve been dealing with Regional Development Victoria for the past 12 to 18 months and we have put in a grant applications.
“We are hoping to hear about it soon, so fingers crossed.”
Mr Uhe said the precinct was vital fro the town.
“There is a real need to push this along – it’s a major priority for Rupanyup,” he said.
“We hope once the precinct starts to grow and one shop opens, another will open next door.
“We hope the town can grow.”
Mr Uhe said the town was also experiencing an increase in tourism after it became part of Yarriambiack Shire’s Silo Art Trail earlier this year.
“With the silo art, it’s even more important that we get this up and running because people are coming to the town,” he said.