IT MIGHT seem like a sleepy little town outside of Tamworth, but the minds of Manilla are bustling with ideas to make the town thrive.
Drought has bitten the small community hard and there are fears a proposed traffic bypass will make it harder for local businesses.
Putting their heads together, the Manilla Viaduct, Rail Bridge and Tourism group want to make the town a place for visitors to stay.
The plans, including a silo mural on Arthur Street and a collaboration with the University of NSW on some urban planning, are only in their infancy, but Mandy Skewes said it would make Manilla play a major role in Tamworth Regional Council's plan to get to 100,000 people.
"A lot of businesses are concerned by the Manilla bypass that traffic will just go straight through town," she said.
"We have a concept where we can draw people into the town.
"They can come and stop to look at the silos, go for a walk down town, everything's in a five-minute walking distance and this should be a development that will draw people into the township."
The UNSW project will see students come and visit the town and design potential projects which will enhance current sites in Manilla like the disused rail-line.
It will also explore the potential usage and connection of the showground, the viaduct, silos, the town centre and the weir and junction area.
It is a huge and ambitious initiative, but Ms Skewes said it would only be successful with the backing of the community which would have a big say in how the projects are developed.