EXPERT designers plan to transform a rundown row of shops with Capital of Culture cash.
They have been told to breathe new life into an ageing parade of businesses in Lodge Lane, Toxteth.
Long-standing residents and shopkeepers were asked for their memories of the area so that local history can be incorporated into a string of new shop fronts.
City leaders hope it will bring more customers into an established shopping area in time for Capital of Culture in 2008.
They also believe a tidy-up may dis-courage vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
It follows criticism that too much culture cash is being pumped into the city centre and highbrow arts events.
The Culture Company wants to spend £100,000 on Lodge Lane, and the Shops Upfront scheme could get the go-ahead tomorrow.
It is based on a hugely successful project in Glasgow, which helped create jobs and a venue for cultural evenings and art displays in a deprived area.
As well as removing ugly rollershutters, graffiti and grime, artists will come up with some clever designs to mark Lodge Lane's historic past.
The street crosses the northern half of the former ancient Deer Park of Toxteth, a vast royal hunting ground laid down by King John in 1207.
The row of shops to be refurbished, numbers 157-171, was once a livery stable called Sefton Park Mews.
Project co-ordinator Sonia Bassey said: "Local people are vital to this project and we have invited them to bring the past to life by sharing their memories of this heritage- rich neighbourhood.
"It is expected the scheme will attract more people into the shops, boosting business and improving the area."
Lodge Lane businesses today praised the scheme, which should start in the next few months.
Newsagent Gamal Abdallah, 40, said: " Hopefully it should get more customers in and brighten up the street. It is about time they put money into the area."
Bashir Alwan, 26, co-ordinator of Lodge Lane-based Merseyside Yemeni Community Association, said: "Our design of Arab horses and camels should look good.
"It is going to draw people in and make them curious. Arabic-speaking people here will feel they have more in common with us."
Anna Webster, 29, co-ordinator of Liverpool Yemeni Arabic Club in Lodge Lane, said: "Young people have been involved in the project to demonstrate what they want to see. They have been using mosaics, arts and crafts."
Carol Hannell, 35, from The Local offlicence, said: "People will feel safer if it is brighter and cleaner out there, especially at night."