The Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre Improvement District (MPTCID) has been approved and is now operational. The MPTCID has been several years in the making, driven by local business owners who wanted to see the area improve.Ward 79 councillor and subcouncil 12 chair, Solomon Philander, says he assisted in initiating the conversation with the Council but left the driving of the project to the business owners.Philander says he would like to commend the owners for taking a stand to improve safety and conditions in the business hub.Two projects already funded and successfully implemented are the fencing of the extended Plaza area and the employment of security guards to patrol the Town Centre.“I want to congratulate and commend our businesses because, at the end of the day, this is their livelihoods,” says Philander.Philander says Town Centre is historic and creates thousands of opportunities for traders and shoppers alike.“People who have traded for 30 years in Town Centre probably have their houses paid off, their children are through school and they are there because they can still make money,” he says. “The challenges that exist make it unpleasant, though.”Philander says, above and beyond the MPTCID, a lot of work is being done from other officials and departments such as better waste management, fencing, safety, enforcement officers and cleansing.“We want to create an environment that preserves the traders who have become antiques,” he says.He describes these traders as those who have spent their lives building their stalls, become known to all shoppers and become a family while trading at the Town Centre.The centre also houses the public transport interchanges which see more than 70 000 people pass through the mall daily.“Chain stores are leaving but many stores are coming back to the Town Centre,” he says. Philander is optimistic about the future of the shopping centre and encourages all to take ownership.“We can have this place become great again. We need to become stewards of what we have. If we want it to return to its former glory, where you can walk freely and do your business, then it will require a collective effort from all of us,” says Philander.“We need everyone in the private and public sector to join hands and keep the government accountable, just like we need to keep residents and businesses accountable,” he says.For more information on the improvement district, visit mptcid.co.za.