#OurDowntown

Downtown Lethbridge

#OurDowntown is an opportunity to highlight and share information on the revitalization efforts in Downtown Lethbridge as well as an opportunity for the public to participate in an ongoing conversation by contributing with comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions on social media with#OurDowntown or by contributing to this Get Involved Lethbridge conversation as opportunities arise.

#OurDowntown is an opportunity to highlight and share information on the revitalization efforts in Downtown Lethbridge as well as an opportunity for the public to participate in an ongoing conversation by contributing with comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions on social media with#OurDowntown or by contributing to this Get Involved Lethbridge conversation as opportunities arise.

  • Downtown a Focus of City Open House

    12 days ago
    Getinvolved showcase 2019 02 08

    Well-known urban planner Brent Toderian has talked extensively about the importance of public engagement in city development. The cities around the world that are trying new and interesting things, are often the ones having authentic and ongoing conversations with their residents.

    An important piece of this engagement is involving the community in conversations about change. Change can be tough for many reasons. Studies have shown that as humans, we prefer the status quo and we tend to fear loss more than we value gain. Having conversations about change happening in our home can be even more difficult. The nature of...

    Well-known urban planner Brent Toderian has talked extensively about the importance of public engagement in city development. The cities around the world that are trying new and interesting things, are often the ones having authentic and ongoing conversations with their residents.

    An important piece of this engagement is involving the community in conversations about change. Change can be tough for many reasons. Studies have shown that as humans, we prefer the status quo and we tend to fear loss more than we value gain. Having conversations about change happening in our home can be even more difficult. The nature of where we live is very personal – our relationship with our street, neighbourhood and city is one of the most important relationships in our lives.

    We want, and need to have conversations about change for downtown Lethbridge but that means we need your help. Having more discussions with a broader group of people will help us all learning from each other and rethinking what’s possible for our city.

    Arguably, the downtown faces more pressure for change to status quo than anywhere else in Lethbridge. This is why the City of Lethbridge and its many partners and stakeholders are placing so much attention and effort on managing and coordinating this change.

    With this in mind, the City of Lethbridge is hosting an open house on Tuesday, March 12 from 3-7pm, inviting residents to learn about, and engage in the development of our City. The “Get Involved Community Conversation” will feature opportunities to learn about and engage in conversations on a number of projects occurring across the City.

    The downtown will be a major focus of this event featuring many projects that are being planned or are in various stages of completion within the downtown core. This will include the Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy, Cycling Corridors Functional Study, 3rd Avenue Reconstruction, information on grants and incentive programs, and demonstrations on how to use the parking kiosk and the ‘Way to Park’ app. Stop by to see us and you’ll even get a chance to win a preloaded parking card. For more information on this event, visit https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca.

    Together with the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), Chamber of Commerce, and Lethbridge Police Service, the City will be continuing with monthly Downtown Safety Education Seminars. The next event will be held on March 19at Casa from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. titled, Drug Crisis –What’s Really Happening. This is the second seminar with the first being held in late February giving an introduction and overview of this new initiative. We were very pleased with the excellent turn out and look forward to the on-going sessions to be held the third Tuesday of each month. More information, links to past sessions and upcoming topics can be found at www.lethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.

    By building broader, better conversations in our city and our downtown we can get past the mentality that we could never do that in our city and start thinking about how we can.

    I challenge every resident to help our downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City committee, we encourage you come to events, have conversations and a part of a positive change. To contribute to the content of this column, join the conversation on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown with yourcomments, questions, ideas and suggestions.


    *This column was featured in the Lethbridge Herald on March 11, 2019.

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  • Committee Dedicated to Downtown

    about 1 month ago
    Heart of our city logo color

    The Heart of Our City Committee is a standing committee of City Council established as an outcome of the Heart of Our City Master Plan in 2007. The committee meets once a month and is tasked with championing downtown revitalization. The committee makes recommendations to City Council on issues that affect the downtown, monitor planning and development activities and provide strategic direction on policy. This group also develops incentives and programs that reflect the vision for downtown.

    The committee is comprised of thirteen representatives who bring a diverse set of social, cultural, educational, and environmental perspectives...

    The Heart of Our City Committee is a standing committee of City Council established as an outcome of the Heart of Our City Master Plan in 2007. The committee meets once a month and is tasked with championing downtown revitalization. The committee makes recommendations to City Council on issues that affect the downtown, monitor planning and development activities and provide strategic direction on policy. This group also develops incentives and programs that reflect the vision for downtown.

    The committee is comprised of thirteen representatives who bring a diverse set of social, cultural, educational, and environmental perspectives to the table. Members include representatives from: City Council, Downtown Business Revitalization Zone, Development Industry, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Lethbridge, Lethbridge Historical Society, Allied Arts Council, Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, Indigenous representative and four citizens at large.

    The committee is funded primarily through the Downtown Redevelopment Fund within the City’s Operating Budget. The fund is responsible for important planning documents such as the Galt Gardens Master Plan (2016) and Civic Common Master Plan (2018) and establishes and maintains successful programs such as the Heart of Our City Activity Grant, Galt Gardens Security, Historic Plaques, Main Street Program Grants - just to name a few.

    The Heart of our City Committee has also been involved in making important funding requests for initiatives that address specific concerns in the Downtown. This has included the Housing Incentive Program (2015), Targeted Redevelopment Incentive (2018), and initiatives targeting cleanliness and safety such as the Diversion Outreach Team (2015) and the recently announced Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy (2019).

    In addition to operating budget requests, the committee has been instrumental in pushing for and supporting significant capital projects in the Downtown including the new Transit Terminal and Park ‘n’ Ride and upcoming 3 Avenue South Streetscaping Reconstruction project between 4 Street and 8 Street.

    To find out more on the Heart of Our City Committee checkout www.lethbridge.ca/downtown.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column by joining the conversation on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntownwith yourcomments, questions, ideas, and suggestions .


    *This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on February 11 , 2019

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  • Many Groups Working to Help Downtown

    about 2 months ago
    Clean and safe front cover image

    In order to effectively revitalize downtown we need to create a positive, unforgettable downtown experience. To achieve this, we know we need to address the real and/or perceived notion that Downtown is messy and feels unsafe.

    Since the adoption of the Heart of Our City Master Plan in 2007, creating a clean and safe downtown has been a fundamental goal of downtown revitalization. These efforts have seen a number of initiatives implemented such as the Clean Sweep Program, Diversion Outreach Team, Downtown Ambassadors, expansion of Lethbridge Police Services’ downtown presence, and private security in Galt Gardens,...

    In order to effectively revitalize downtown we need to create a positive, unforgettable downtown experience. To achieve this, we know we need to address the real and/or perceived notion that Downtown is messy and feels unsafe.

    Since the adoption of the Heart of Our City Master Plan in 2007, creating a clean and safe downtown has been a fundamental goal of downtown revitalization. These efforts have seen a number of initiatives implemented such as the Clean Sweep Program, Diversion Outreach Team, Downtown Ambassadors, expansion of Lethbridge Police Services’ downtown presence, and private security in Galt Gardens, to name a few.

    Between 2007 and 2016, by focusing on decreasing negative cues and increasing positive cues the downtown experienced a noticeable improvement in terms of cleanliness and safety. Unfortunately, over the past two years the downtown has faced escalating instances of drug use, theft, erratic behavior, and petty crime related to increases in unemployment, homelessness, and addiction and substance abuse. Every incident, inappropriate act, or negative cue that one observes or is exposed to, regardless of how serious, is extremely impactful to people’s perception of cleanliness and safety in the downtown.

    To combat these negative perceptions and the City of Lethbridge has been listening and collaborating with various stakeholders in and around the downtown including the Heart of Our City Committee, Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone, Chamber of Commerce, Lethbridge Police Service, Fire & Ambulance, Diversion Outreach Team, Social Service Agencies, and businesses and residents to develop a city-led Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy (DCSS).

    The strategy combines components of enforcement, security, outreach, cleaning, promotion, education, and built environment improvements to holistically address the negative perceptions and to make the community feel safe, promote positive downtown activities and events, and inform residents on what the City is doing that builds understanding for the purpose of increasing the vibrancy and revitalization of the downtown. The details of the strategy can be viewed at www.lethbridge.ca/downtown.

    This is not a strategy to attempt to solve the larger underlying issues of the drug crisis such as homelessness, addiction and unemployment. It is a holistic effort to bridge a gap and assist those in the downtown and adjacent areas whose livelihoods are being directly impacted, while the plan to address the larger underlying issues is being developed and implemented through the Community Drug Strategy (www.lethbridge.ca/drugstrategy).

    By investing resources into reestablishing a clean and safe downtown, we will be better positioned to continue with our downtown revitalization efforts to create a positive, unforgettable downtown experience based on welcoming public spaces, program and events, vibrant uses, and marketing and promotions.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the BRZ’s #OurDowntown video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.



  • Lots to be excited about for downtown in 2019

    2 months ago
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    Small cracks do not mean you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and didn’t fall apart. I believe this accurately describes the past year for our downtown as the businesses, residents, visitors, and patrons were faced with a number of challenges.

    While 2018 tested the strength and resiliency of our downtown, it certainly is not broken and exciting things are ahead for 2019. In fact, the Community Issues Committee meeting of City Council will hear more about the new strategies to support a clean and safe downtown at their meeting today.

    ...

    Small cracks do not mean you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and didn’t fall apart. I believe this accurately describes the past year for our downtown as the businesses, residents, visitors, and patrons were faced with a number of challenges.

    While 2018 tested the strength and resiliency of our downtown, it certainly is not broken and exciting things are ahead for 2019. In fact, the Community Issues Committee meeting of City Council will hear more about the new strategies to support a clean and safe downtown at their meeting today.

    In taking a moment to look back at the year that was, there is still lots to be excited and proud of. We welcomed a number of new and innovative businesses, attracted thousands of visitors through the hosting of events and festivals, saw buildings (slated from demolition) brought back to life and witnessed countless dedicated organizations and individuals giving up their time to make downtown a better place.

    The Heart of Our City committee is excited to announce details for the fourth annual Celebrate Downtown event. This event recognizes downtown champions for all the work that has been done, and continues to be done by our community to create, maintain and promote Lethbridge’s downtown.

    The Celebrate Downtown awards reception will take place on April 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Centre (421 6th Avenue South). Participants will enjoy appetizers, drinks, and live entertainment. Downtown friends, neighbors, colleagues and community contributors will have an opportunity to network and join the HOC in honouring downtown champions. This includes the individuals, businesses, organizations and events that have invested in making our downtown more beautiful, livable, exciting, vibrant, accessible and sustainable.

    There are 7 Celebrate Downtown award categories and nominations will remain open until March 1st, 2019. More information can be found on the Celebrate Downtown Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/celebratedowntownlethbridge).

    As we look ahead to 2019, I challenge every resident to help our downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the BRZ’s #OurDowntown video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions and engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.


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  • Clean Sweep Program is Paying Dividends

    4 months ago
    Cleansweep small

    Places that are well maintained and clean not only raise property values and lower vacancy rates but they also create an inviting environment where people want to stop and spend time. It makes the statement that someone cares for this place, they are taking care of it and there is a sense of pride. This is very much the case in Downtown Lethbridge and it’s largely due to the efforts of the Clean Sweep Program who maintain a clean downtown for all to enjoy.

    The Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) manages the very impactful Clean Sweep Program (CSP) which...

    Places that are well maintained and clean not only raise property values and lower vacancy rates but they also create an inviting environment where people want to stop and spend time. It makes the statement that someone cares for this place, they are taking care of it and there is a sense of pride. This is very much the case in Downtown Lethbridge and it’s largely due to the efforts of the Clean Sweep Program who maintain a clean downtown for all to enjoy.

    The Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) manages the very impactful Clean Sweep Program (CSP) which is a joint initiative between the BRZ, Social Housing in Action and the Heart of Our City Committee. The program seeks to make a positive contribution to Downtown Lethbridge, specifically related to maintaining a clean public space. The program provides individuals who are experiencing various levels of homelessness with the opportunity to participate in meaningful daily activities. This work goes a long way in helping build employment and financial literacy skills and supporting social inclusion while making a positive contribution to the community.

    CSP clients receive a small stipend, training, clothing and a bagged lunch, courtesy of Canadian Mental Health and local businesses to perform a variety of tasks within the downtown early in the morning Monday to Friday. Their primary role is to clean streets/lanes in the summer, pick up leaves in the fall and clear snow from the public areas during the winter months while also offering pressure washing services and graffiti removal for private businesses in the downtown. With a combined effort between the CSP and the City’s graffiti removal program, you will be hard-pressed to find graffiti or tags in the downtown, and if you do, make sure to call the BRZ office and they will deploy CSP as soon as possible!

    The role of CSP became even more prominent in 2018 for several reasons. First, they are now playing a critical role in addressing a major community issue as needle debris collection was added to their tasks and has expanded outside the downtown to provide service to the area around the supervised consumption site and other hotspots. Secondly, a partnership with the City’s Waste and Recycling Department saw CSP participate in a new leaf collection and composting initiative in the downtown. As a result, nearly 2,000 brown bags of leaves were diverted from the landfill this fall. In recognition of this, CSP was recently awarded the ‘Green Superhero Organization’ award from Environment Lethbridge. Finally, Lowe’s provided the CSP a Lowe’s Heroes grant for just under $6,000 in addition to staff skills and labor, which will go towards much needed upgrades to the sheds used for coffee/gathering space as well as equipment storage.

    The CSP will be evolving their programs with the launch of ‘The Pallet Design Company’, which will see CSP clients employed in the design and construction of furniture and goods out of recycled pallets. This program will provide the next step in the employment spectrum assisting those with the transition to part-time or full-time employment. More information on this program will be shared in 2019.

    Maintaining a clean environment is a cornerstone for the successful revitalization of downtown and the CSP is playing a critical role in helping achieve that. If you happen to be in the downtown before 8 a.m., be sure to take a moment to stop and thank these individuals for the positive contribution they are making to our downtown and congratulate them for a year of exciting achievements.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the BRZ’s #OurDowntown video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.


    * This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on December 3, 2018.


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  • Options Exist For Downtown Business Beautification

    4 months ago
    Storefront

    Never underestimate the power of a well-designed storefront. Aside from word-of-mouth recommendations shoppers typically only have curb appeal to help them determine whether or not a business is worth visiting. And a customer’s first impression of a business’s brand can often be the difference between someone coming in or walking past. When competing with the big-box retailers, chains, and franchises that have very identifiable branding, smaller local businesses must turn on the charm by creating storefronts that are welcoming to visitors and quickly tell them what goods and services are provided.

    Despite the fact that storefront beautification projects that improve...

    Never underestimate the power of a well-designed storefront. Aside from word-of-mouth recommendations shoppers typically only have curb appeal to help them determine whether or not a business is worth visiting. And a customer’s first impression of a business’s brand can often be the difference between someone coming in or walking past. When competing with the big-box retailers, chains, and franchises that have very identifiable branding, smaller local businesses must turn on the charm by creating storefronts that are welcoming to visitors and quickly tell them what goods and services are provided.

    Despite the fact that storefront beautification projects that improve curb appeal can count for 70 per cent of new visitor sales at restaurants, retail shops, and hotels and lodging establishments, it is often difficult for small businesses to front the capital costs to pull off such improvements.

    Cue Community Futures, a community driven, non-profit organization that is actively engaged in providing a wide range of small business services and business management tools for people who want to start, expand, or improve a business.

    In 2011, Community Futures partnered with the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone and Heart of Our City to provide the Business Improvement Loan program to provide financial assistance to businesses in the downtown. The program provides interest-free loans up to a maximum of $15,000 for downtown businesses to improve the appearance of their business, with the interest being paid by the Heart of Our City.

    Eligible improvements include signage, exterior finishes, repair or replacement of storefront windows and doors, interior and exterior lighting, window display areas, new architectural features, addition of patio areas and landscaping, flooring and much more!

    Since 2011, 87 loans have been issued which have directly resulted in maintaining and creating more than 320 full- and part-time jobs as well as being leveraged to facilitate more than $1.6 million in improvements in our Downtown.

    “This program is a win-win, as small business and entrepreneurs receive valuable assistance while also contributing to making our downtown more beautiful and sustainable” says Darlene Sinclair, General Manager of Community Futures Lethbridge Region.

    More information on the Business Improvement Loan program and other small business services and business management tools that Community Futures provides can be found at www.lethbridgeregion.albertacf.com or by contacting 403-320-6044.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the BRZ’s #OurDowntown video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.

    *This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on November 19, 2018

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  • Support Downtown, Shop Local

    5 months ago
    Shop local

    “When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy his 3rd home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, moms and dads put food on the table. Shop Local”.

    This quote was from a social media post by Dylan’s Burger and Deli, located in our Downtown at 313-5 Street South. This was supplemented with the message “We would not be here without the support of our community. Come downtown and see us. We are here and ready to go. Our downtown needs more ...

    “When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy his 3rd home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, moms and dads put food on the table. Shop Local”.

    This quote was from a social media post by Dylan’s Burger and Deli, located in our Downtown at 313-5 Street South. This was supplemented with the message “We would not be here without the support of our community. Come downtown and see us. We are here and ready to go. Our downtown needs more support than ever”.

    Downtown has been feeling the impacts related to increasing drug use, homelessness, and the overall perception of safety. Consultation is underway aimed at developing a Community Drug Strategy that can be implemented as soon as possible, with the findings of phase 1 being reported to Council today.

    In the words of local business owner Hunter Heggie, “Lethbridge’s heart is stressed but it isn’t broken. This is our city. Come shop, eat, and use the services in our Downtown”. Whether it’s a hard-to-find vinyl record, a stunning outfit, delicious candy, or the latest in baby merchandise – you can find it right here at home in our Downtown. The viability of our great downtown businesses depends on people continuing to patronize the Downtown – especially during the holiday shopping season (Yes, it’s that time of year, already!)

    There are many community benefits to shopping local, including stimulating the local economy, creating high quality jobs, increasing local investment, creating unique local character, offering superior customer service, fostering cultural diversity, increasing support for community groups, events and charities, and creating vibrancy at the street level which deters negative behaviors.

    Did you know that when you shop at a local business, 70 cents for every dollar spent stays in the local economy, compared to 30 cents with a larger chain store, and less than one cent when buying from an online mega-retailer.

    Mom-and-pop stores have helped shape the identity of downtown as the Heart of Our City for more than 100 years. This holiday season, we invite the residents of Lethbridge to come together and come Downtown to shop local. And by doing so, you’ll be keeping your locally owned and operated businesses and surrounding community healthy, prosperous and vibrant.

    Also be sure to check out the 18th Annual Bright Lights Festival which will kick off the holiday shopping season in Downtown Lethbridge on November 16th in Galt Gardens. Also be sure to check out Christmas at Casa on November 16th and 17th which will feature more than 100 artists and guilds selling one-of-a-kind artisanal wares and artwork. And don’t miss the Galt’s Night at the Museum Shopping event on November 29th.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.


    *This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on November 5, 2018.

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  • Downtown Offers Lots of Diversity

    5 months ago
    Ethnic

    Downtown is more diverse and inclusive than ever as residents, businesses, and organizations representing people from around the world utilize the centre of our city on a daily basis.

    Through the sharing of food, people and relationships, or cultural activities, visitors will find diverse ethnic and cultural experiences in our Downtown. Whether you are spending time in the small but culturally and historically rich district of Chinatown, visiting any of the ethnic restaurants and retailers - Tacos Made in Mexico, Nakagama’s Japanese Foods and Giftware, Josees Handmade Imports to name a few - or by participating in some...

    Downtown is more diverse and inclusive than ever as residents, businesses, and organizations representing people from around the world utilize the centre of our city on a daily basis.

    Through the sharing of food, people and relationships, or cultural activities, visitors will find diverse ethnic and cultural experiences in our Downtown. Whether you are spending time in the small but culturally and historically rich district of Chinatown, visiting any of the ethnic restaurants and retailers - Tacos Made in Mexico, Nakagama’s Japanese Foods and Giftware, Josees Handmade Imports to name a few - or by participating in some of the amazing cultural activities and events hosted by the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association (SAEA) at its downtown location in the Multicultural Centre on the corner of 6th Avenue and 5th Street South.

    The SAEA represents diverse ethnic societies and clubs in southern Alberta as they promote understanding, awareness, and celebration by offering programs that highlight different global cultures, languages, religions, cuisines, dancing and performances, ethnic music, thoughts and philosophies.

    Throughout the year the SAEA organizes and showcases a multitude of cultural events such as regular Cultural Nights, celebrations of Heritage Day, Festival Latino, Caribbean Carnival, and an Annual International Dinner and Dance. There are a number of upcoming events (many that involve delicious food) before the year is done, including: Taste of Africa (Oct. 26), Taste of Ecuador (Nov. 30), Christmas around the World (Dec. 14) and BavaRu New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31). These events are open to everyone in the community and add to the rich cultural vibrancy and inclusive nature of our Downtown.

    By bringing proud socio-cultural practices representing different parts of the globe face to face at a common point, we are afforded the opportunity to learn, share and appreciate each other’s culture. This provides endless opportunities to bridge differences and foster unity in our society. What better place for this to take place than in the Heart of Our City – our Downtown.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.


    *This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on October 22, 2018



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  • BRZ Believes in Downtown Vision

    5 months ago
    Downtown brz logo

    A Business Revitalization Zone is a special assessment district established by businesses in an area to jointly raise and administer funds through a designated levy (tax) for various projects and promotional activities within the zone throughout the year that contribute to improving the economic and social vitality of the area.

    The Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) was established in 1987. It is a visionary collective of business leaders who believe that the heart of the city beats in its center core. Since inception, the BRZ has succeeded in adding the necessary vibrancy to make that heart beat with a...

    A Business Revitalization Zone is a special assessment district established by businesses in an area to jointly raise and administer funds through a designated levy (tax) for various projects and promotional activities within the zone throughout the year that contribute to improving the economic and social vitality of the area.

    The Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) was established in 1987. It is a visionary collective of business leaders who believe that the heart of the city beats in its center core. Since inception, the BRZ has succeeded in adding the necessary vibrancy to make that heart beat with a strong and steady pulse.

    The BRZ serves its members through marketing and implementation of unique programs that promote and highlight the positive aspects of our downtown and by providing public advocacy on important issues affecting the downtown core. Through a close partnership with the City of Lethbridge, the BRZ also administers several key programs on behalf of the City of Lethbridge’s Heart of Our City committee including beautification loans and grants, marketing, public relations, and street maintenance initiatives.

    In large part due to the tireless work of the BRZ, our Downtown is an ideal business environment in a premium centralized location with a unique mix of retailers, restaurants, coffee shops, and professional services. This is abundantly evident as over the past few months a handful of new and innovative businesses have opened their doors in our Downtown including: Hive – a creative co-working space, London Road Media – a modern marketing and advertising strategy company, Mortar and Bricks – a premiere gallery and event space, and Pure Spa – a health-oriented spa destination.

    To learn more about these new businesses and others in our Downtown be sure to check out the BRZ website (www.downtownlethbridge.ca) and social media accounts (@DowntownLeth) as a new video series titled #OurDowntown will highlight the stories behind new businesses in our Downtown. The first video is posted today and features Pure Spa owners Rachel and Jayna who share why they decided to bring holistic healing to Downtown Lethbridge.(click here for video)

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntownwith you oncomments, questions, ideas, and suggestions .

    *This column was published on October , 2018


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  • Historic Buildings Add to Downtown

    5 months ago
    Oliver image
    Our Downtown holds significance as the historic, symbolic, and perhaps most importantly, the functional core of Lethbridge. While suburban expansion of the City to the south, north, and west and several whole-block redevelopments of large sections of Downtown (i.e. Lethbridge Centre Mall and Park Place Mall) have changed the city centre markedly, Downtown retains many of the characteristics that made it an important regional centre for commerce, tourism, transportation and living over the last century including a fantastic supply of buildings with historic significance

    The preservation of these historic buildings along with the appropriate integration of new development with existing...

    Our Downtown holds significance as the historic, symbolic, and perhaps most importantly, the functional core of Lethbridge. While suburban expansion of the City to the south, north, and west and several whole-block redevelopments of large sections of Downtown (i.e. Lethbridge Centre Mall and Park Place Mall) have changed the city centre markedly, Downtown retains many of the characteristics that made it an important regional centre for commerce, tourism, transportation and living over the last century including a fantastic supply of buildings with historic significance

    The preservation of these historic buildings along with the appropriate integration of new development with existing buildings has been a major focus of those involved in the revitalization of the Downtown. Whether big or small, dramatic or modest, historic buildings and compatible new development add richness and variety to the urban form of our Downtown and help forge a powerful bond between the present and past.

    For many years, buildings with historic significance have been viewed by some as a barrier to redevelopment. However, over the last decade, with the vision and guidance of City of Lethbridge’s Municipal Development Plan, Heart of Our City Master Plan, Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan and Heritage Management Plan, this perspective has largely been reversed by identifying practical and achievable objectives, actions, and strategies to protect and manage the Downtown and Lethbridge’s historic buildings.

    Today, historic buildings and the overall historic character of the Downtown are seen more as an asset than a burden to redevelopment. Some excellent examples of these efforts include: conservation of the Bowman Building, sensitive additions at the Galt Museum and Southern Alberta Art Gallery, adaptive reuse of Suites at 601 and Oliver Building, new construction of the Scotia Bank incorporating tyndall stone – a historic downtown element – and countless improvements to building facades and signage.

    Historic buildings provide character, continuity and a sense of uniqueness to our Downtown and the efforts of all those who have contributed time and financial investments to the protection, conservation, and integration of historic buildings in our Downtown is greatly appreciated as there is clearly value in old bricks.

    I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown.


    * This column was published September 24, 2018 in the Lethbridge Herald.
    * Herald photo by Ian Martens



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