PREPARATIONS are under way for one of the biggest street parties the city has seen since the millennium to celebrate the renaissance of Liverpool's historic Hope Street.
The city's cultural quarter, which sits between the Anglican and Metropolitan Cathedrals, has undergone a transformation to make it a hub for the arts and business communities as well as making it a must-see destination for visitors.
The project was the brainchild of campaigning charity HOPES, which has pushed relentlessly for money to plough into the improvements, which include public art and pedestrianisation.
Now, after a decade of campaigning and fundraising, its volunteers are busy organising a carnival-style celebration to mark the end of the work in June.
Hilary Burrage, chairwoman of HOPES, said: "We were very keen to make Hope Street a place that people wanted to be.
"It's not just about imposing officialdom, it's a really vibrant place with so much going on that everyone should be able to share in it and feel comfortable relaxing there.
"Here, if ever there was one, is an example of how people coming from very different places can find common ground, a particularly apt metaphor in this instance, through the arts and community activity."
HOPES started its campaign to give the area a facelift in 1996. It managed to win support from Liverpool council and Liverpool Vision, who have also backed the party plans.
Officials then commissioned a scheme they hoped would create a high quality public realm to make the area more attractive to visitors, existing businesses and potential investors.
It has seen new paving, street furniture, lighting and improved pedestrian crossings installed alongside public art works. And recently the renowned Suitcases installation went back on display. It had been removed while the renovation was under way. Part of the street will be pedestrianised and work is expected to finish in the next few weeks, well before the party on Sunday, June 11. (Same time as Downton Week kicks off!)
The main attraction at the celebrations will be a performance by the HOPES Festival Orchestra of a specially commissioned piece by Richard Gordon-Smith from 1996 to mark the beginning of the charity's campaign for the renewal of the area.
Hotfoot on Hope Street is a musical interpretation of a walk along Hope Street from one cathedral to the other.
Other events proposed include a street market, a fancy dress
competition, performances by school children, children's fun activities and entertainment in St James's Gardens.
But HOPES is keen to get as many different groups of people involved in the programming for the day as possible.
It wants any amateur and student musicians who would like to join the orchestra, volunteers who can help organise the day, or any budding performers to get in touch.
Mrs Burrage added: "We are very democratic here, we want everyone to have a chance to be involved and have their say in what will happen during the party.
"We may well section up the street and give performers time slots so as many acts as possible have a chance to appear.
"I'm sure it will be a wonderful day. We have achieved what we set out to do, not many can say that."
To perform with the orchestra contact Richard Gordon-Smith or Tony Burrage by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Any volunteers should call 0151 281 0010.