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  • Second Intake for Re-imagine Downtown Activation Grants Still Open

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    With $90,000 supporting 11 initiatives during the first intake this past summer, including music festivals and business recruitment projects, the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant program got off to a successful start in 2021.

    As the Heart of Our City Committee (HOCC) continues to be proactive with Downtown vibrancy, there is still time for more as autumn has set in. The total remaining funding for the second intake of the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant in 2021 is $60,000, with applications eligible for up to $25,000.

    Announced in late May, the grant money aims to support businesses, entrepreneurs, organizations and community-minded individuals in implementing initiatives, events, and/or programs that seek to activate vacant, underutilized and under programmed private and public spaces and places within Downtown Lethbridge.

    Funding is provided through the Downtown Redevelopment Fund’s unutilized contributions to the previous HOCC Activity Grant, which was temporarily suspended in 2020 with the continual changes to public health restrictions severely impacting the ability to plan for events and festivals in the Downtown – which support vibrancy, safety and economic stimulus for local businesses.

    “The first 11 initiatives collectively provided a great boost to our Downtown through the summer months,” says HOCC Chair, Lorien Johansen. “We look forward to seeing more creative ideas to safely encourage people back into the vacant and underutilized spaces of Downtown.”

    The second intake of new grant applications was set to close on October 1, but has been extended to November 1 at 4 p.m. Applications will be evaluated and awarded by the HOCC and all successful applicants will be required to meet and adapt to applicable COVID-19 restrictions in effect at time of initiative.

    More information and the application form can be found here: lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives.

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  • First TRIP Recipient Six08 Health Changes Landscape

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    The City of Lethbridge is excited to celebrate the official grand opening for the first downtown redevelopment project accessing the Targeted Redevelopment Incentive Program (TRIP).

    With its $4.8 million redevelopment project at 608 5 Avenue South, Six08 Health (formerly East Meets West) is the first business to utilize the new municipal tax relief program. They opened at this location earlier this year.

    The City benefits from this program in that, once the short-term cancellation period is over, a far greater amount of taxes are received due to the increased value of the property. For the Six08 Health project, the City will receive an estimated $88,000 more in annual taxes than what was being received prior to construction. This is income that will be received every year following the seven-year cancellation period.

    “In addition to the additional long-term tax benefit to the City, this impactful capital investment has added 60 skilled jobs to the Downtown, including an addition of 30 for the new location (formerly located at WT Hill). This will bring more people, more activity and more vitality to the Downtown and we are optimistic on the positive impact this type of investment will have on our city’s core,” says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager.

    Six08 Health will bring together a multitude of health care professionals including massage, acupuncture, chiropractor, physiotherapy, naturopathic medicine, speech pathology, psychology, dental and dental hygiene, medical aesthetics, fitness, family & GI specialty medical, pharmacy, and supervised childcare. This unified team will have the common goal of providing optimal patient-centered care within a new state-of-the-art facility in downtown Lethbridge.

    “Downtown Lethbridge is growing in a positive direction and we are excited to be a part of it,” says Dr. Sean Hantke, Six08 Health’s Clinic Director. “Working with the City to make Six08 Health a big part of the revitalization efforts is line with our business’s positive and proactive approach.”

    TRIP is available for projects with a minimum construction value of $500,000. Encouraging redevelopment in the downtown will lead to greater property values and enhancements that will draw more activity to the downtown core. For more information on this and other downtown incentive programs visit www.lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives.

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  • Council Greenlights Revisions to Municipal Stimulus Program Projects Including Additional Funding For Downtown Festival Square

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    Lethbridge City Council last week voted 6-3 to proceed with a revised plan for Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) funded projects which include the Lethbridge Airport renovations and Festival Square Market Plaza.

    In fall 2020, City Administration reviewed more than 25 potential projects against the Provincial MSP funding guidelines and submitted three for Council’s consideration. City Council approved the $12.06 million in funding to the City of Lethbridge be allocated to the Lethbridge Airport Renovation – Airfield Lighting & Pavement Rehabilitation ($11.163 million) and Festival Square Market Plaza ($900,000). These were submitted and approved by the Province.

    On June 15, administration provided an update to Council identifying that the Festival Square project would come in over the $900,000 budget due to a combination of inflation and revised scope. Council requested administration reach out to the Province to explore all options with the MSP funding and provide a report back to Council. The Alberta Government has since advised that while there was no additional funding available and a firm December 31, 2021, completion date for approved projects was expected, that flexibility would be provided to shift money between approved projects.

    As administration returned to Council on June 29, a recap of the Government of Alberta correspondence and an update of budget projections for all three MSP-funded projects was provided. The two Airport projects are able to be completed as scoped with a $1.9-million surplus and therefore, administration recommended to shift unspent funds on the Airport projects to the Festival Square project. This will allow Festival Square to proceed – without any City funding – to ensure that the project is delivered as an economic catalyst for downtown – and that no MSP funding will be left unspent.

    From the $1.9 million Airport project surplus, Council has approved:

    • $810,000 for Festival Square: $485,000 as tendered for water/wastewater servicing, lane rehab, community lighting, entry sign and decorative column lighting, plus $325,000 for additional components such as an interactive stage, a secondary entry sign, programmable lighting and site furniture (tables, chairs, and planters)
    • $1,090,000 for extended airport pavement rehabilitation

    “This is exciting news and I commend Council for looking into options to ensure these projects move forward,” says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager. “This approval ensures strategic use of our resources by ensuring all MSP grant funding is used. This shows a balanced approach to the distribution of stimulus funding in two strategic locations supporting different segments of economic recovery. With Festival Square, we believe this is a great opportunity to build off the success of patio and parklet infrastructure investment. This project will revitalize existing assets, create jobs and stimulate the downtown economy, as well as support bringing people back to public spaces safely as health measures ease. At the same time, we have been able to address some critical upgrades at the Airport. Even with the shift of funding, we will be able to achieve more with the Airport Pavement Rehabilitation than initially planned which will support future airside leasing opportunities.”

    As part of the revisions, there are amendments to the 2018-2027 CIP ‘Grant – Municipal Stimulus Program’ allocations and corresponding totals to reflect the following: Lethbridge Airport Renovation (2018-27 CIP D-43) - $10,353,000; Festival Square Market Plaza (2018-27 CIP D-44) - $1,710,000.

    Construction timelines for the Airport Renovations and Festival Square will be updated at a later date.

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  • UPDATE: Festival Square Redevelopment: Detailed Design Stakeholder Engagement What We Heard Report

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    Updated Post - Feb 24.2021

    On February 10, 2021 the City along with Stantec Consulting held an online engagement meeting to share more about the Festival Square reconstruction project and receive feedback on detailed design and construction timing.

    A What We Heard Report has been created that captures and shares the public feedback gathered in this event and can be found here https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/6524/widgets/25788/documents/50926. The recording of the online session can also be viewed at www.shorturl.at/dkI03.

    Related Information:


    If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager at andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca or 403.330.4235


    Original Post - Feb 02 2021

    In spring 2020, the City completed conceptual designs for the re-imagining of Festival Square as a permanent market plaza space. The designs incorporated previous plans and studies as well as discussions with the City, HOC, Downtown BRZ, and stakeholders through a virtual meeting and public survey.

    The pandemic helped accelerate some of these ideas when an outdoor seating area was created this summer to help restaurants with their capacity limits. Further, in the Fall the City and Province both agreed that this project was a natural fit for economic stimulus funding and $900,000 in Provincial funding was allocated for design and construction.

    As a stakeholder, we would like to reconnect in an online engagement meeting on February 10 at 6:30 p.m. as we look at to share more about the Festival Square reconstruction project and receive feedback on detailed design and construction timing.

    More information on the vision of the project and the process behind the development of the conceptual designs can be found at https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/6524/widgets/25788/documents/44706

    If you are interested in attending, please contact Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager (andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca(External link)) to receive a link for the online engagement.

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  • Transforming Boring Building Exteriors Into Creative Community Canvases

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    Are you a Lethbridge building-owner looking to brighten up an exterior wall?

    Are you a local artist seeking an opportunity to share your skills and talents with your community?

    The City of Lethbridge Public Art Committee, Heart of Our City Committee, and Allied Arts Council are seeking artists and building owners to participate in a mural pilot project. This pilot enables local artists and businesses to partner to create vibrant and accessible public artwork for the community to enjoy. Funding is provided by the City of Lethbridge Public Art Program and Heart of Our City Committee.

    A mural is an artwork painted or applied directly to a wall. Murals have the power to transform boring building exteriors into creative community canvases. They help add vibrancy by activating public spaces, promoting creative expression, and deterring graffiti vandalism.

    An Expression of Interest (EOI) must be submitted to seek participation in this pilot project. EOIs are due September 14, 2020. The application process for this project is competitive. A maximum of ten murals will be funded, at least half of which must be located in the downtown.

    Mural designs will reflect at least one of the guiding principles outlined in the City’s Public Art Master Plan: inclusivity, diversity, accessibility, creativity, sustainability, and quality. If the mural is located in the downtown, it will also celebrate at least one of the pillars of the Heart of Our City Master Plan: beautiful, livable, sustainable, exciting, accessible, and vibrant.

    The mural’s intention must be artistic and cannot include promotional or commercial content.

    Download the full call for EOIs at https://www.publicartlethbridge.ca/current-calls/.

    Image: Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association’s Back Alley Art Gallery Project.

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  • Taking It To The Streets In Support of Economic Recovery

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    In an effort to support businesses in their COVID-19 relaunch efforts, the City of Lethbridge will be expediting permitting for the use of sidewalks and streets to create outdoor patios, parklets and street vending in commercial areas. Opportunities for expanded outdoor seating will be vital in allowing businesses to serve customers while still following provincial health orders and ensuring physical distancing.

    For businesses in Downtown Lethbridge, the Heart of Our City Committee has developed an Outdoor Patio and Parklet Support Program. This includes a limited quantity of prefabricated parklet structures, planters, bistro tables and chairs that businesses can borrow. Further, the existing Main Street Incentive Program has been expanded beyond façade and signage improvements to include patio and parklet improvements. This expanded program will provide matching funding to businesses to assist with initial costs of developing their own patio or parklet.

    A parklet is a temporary seating area that replaces one or two parking spaces by extending from the sidewalk in front of the business and into the street. Parklets were first introduced in 2005 in San Francisco and today are a mainstay in communities small and large, from Fernie, BC to New York, NY. The City piloted parklets in 2019 with great success. This year’s program has been modified slightly to incorporate changes suggested through community feedback.

    A comprehensive handbook has also been created for anyone interested in exploring a patio/parklet options for their business. This resource includes operational and safety requirements, application form, and details on the review process. For more information visit: www.lethbridge.ca/publicspaces.

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  • Refreshing Upgrades Coming to Downtown

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    Residents and businesses may notice work happening in the downtown over the course of the summer as enhancements are made to the public spaces. This project is part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and includes the installation of parklets (seasonal patio spaces) and replacement of street furniture, planters, banners as well as trees and grates. The objective of this project is to create vibrant, beautiful and accessible public spaces in the downtown while also improving overall functionality.

    Starting today, trees are being removed from the brick planters on the corner of 4 Ave and 6 St S in preparation for the replacement of both the planters and trees. There will also be additional tree removal happening at 5 Ave and 6 Street S.

    Planters are scheduled to be removed next week in several downtown locations. No road closures will be required for this work but parking stalls will be blocked off and fencing will be up in these area to ensure the safety of both worker and the public. The planter replacements are expected to be installed in June with new trees being added in a later phase of the project.

    These improvements are being made as part of the Public Realm Enhancement project and are in alignment with the Heart of Our City Master Plan, Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan, and the City’s Public Realm and Transportation Study.

    Initiatives in the project began in 2018 and are anticipated to be full completed in the summer/fall of 2021.

    For more information, visit: https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/Projects-Initiatives/Current-Projects/Pages/4-Avenue-Enhancements.aspx

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  • Heart of Our City Committee Creates New Virtual Activity Grant

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    Given the current restrictions in place to prevent public gatherings and promote physical distancing due to COVID-19, the Heart of Our City Committee (HOC) is opening up its pre-existing activity grant program with a new stream of grant funding to support virtual events. This new program will help support the events, artists and businesses who have found creative ways to continue promoting the vibrancy of Downtown Lethbridge during this unprecedented time.

    Each year, the HOC awards activity grants to provide funding support to organization delivering events that attract people, enhance vibrancy and create excitement in the downtown core. These grants were awarded in January of 2020 but the current public health crisis has impacted many of these planned events.

    “We’ve had grant recipients reach out to us saying they want to modify what they had planned given the situation as well as new inquiries around possibility of supporting new events or activities that will promote the downtown vibe,” says Dawn Leite, Chair of the Heart of Our City Committee. “We want to encourage this ingenuity and creativity and find ways we can still promote the downtown during these times. We also want to be flexible and accommodating with our partners who champion downtown and that’s what this new grant can do.”

    The new program will use activity grant funding available due to the cancelation or postponement of 2020 events. The maximum amount awarded through the new grant funding is $2,000 per event and grants greater than $500 require matching funding. Applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis and as funding is limited, all applications meeting the eligibility may not be supported, or may not receive the full requested amount.

    In January, the Heart of Our City Committee announced grant funding for 21 events to be held in downtown Lethbridge over the next year totaling $126,000. Any recipients of the original activity grants who have questions or concerns about the possible postponement or cancellation of their events or ideas for virtual events should contact Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager for the City of Lethbridge at andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca.

    The Heart of Our City Committee is committed to the revitalization of Downtown Lethbridge and will continue to support this important work now and in the future when the downtown reopens to provide the vibrant activities, events, restaurants and shopping we know and love.

    For more information on eligibility and available funding visit: www.lethbridge.ca/HOCActivityGrant

    Media Contact:
    Dawn Leite, Heart of Our City Committee Chair
    Phone: 403-393-6859

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  • Celebrate Downtown By Nominating A Deserving Champion

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    The Heart of our City Committee (HOC) is excited to announce details for the Fifth Annual Celebrate Downtown Gala which recognizes the individuals, businesses, organizations and events who invest their time, ideas and capital into Lethbridge’s Downtown.

    Nominations are now open for awards in the following seven categories:

    • Unsung Hero Award: committed to taking care of the downtown community, often without recognition or praise.

    • Transformation Award: leading the transformation of downtown spaces, business and activities.

    • Innovator Award: takes risks and is not scared to challenge the status quo as they work to create, maintain, support and promote an exciting downtown.

    • From the Heart Award: social change agent, working to make downtown a welcoming place for all.

    • Event of the Year: event committed to creating a vibrant and inclusive downtown.

    • Volunteer of the Year: someone who freely gives up their time and energy to benefit downtown.

    • People’s Choice Award: overall downtown champion.

    Nominations open today and will remain open until April 3, 2020. The nomination date has been extended due to COVID-19 until Friday, May1 2020. The link to the nomination form can be found at Celebrate Downtown Nomination Form

    This year’s awards recipients will be recognized on Friday, May 1 at the Multicultural Centre (421 6 Avenue South) in a fun gala event that brings together downtown friends, neighbors, colleagues and community contributors to meet, mingle and network. THE CELEBRATE DOWNTOWN EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED AND A DATE LATER IN 2020 IS CURRENTLY BEING EXPLORED.

    For more information, visit the Celebrate Downtown Facebook Page at:

    www.facebook.com/celebratedowntownlethbridge.



  • Artists invited to think outside the (utility) box

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    The City of Lethbridge Public Art Program and the Heart of Our City committee are adding a splash of colour to the city centre by inviting local artists to share their talents in an unconventional way. Utility boxes located in Galt Gardens and at Casa will soon be wrapped in creativity as a way to increase the vibrancy of downtown Lethbridge.

    Artists will have the opportunity to design vinyl wraps that will cover six different utility boxes of a variety of sizes and shapes. This initial program will serve as a pilot project for a potential utility box wrapping/painting program throughout the city. The program will provide artists with an opportunity to create artworks which add interest to the streetscape of the downtown while creating a sense of place.

    These artworks are temporary with a life span of 3-5 years. The wrapping of utility boxes will not only improve the aesthetic of downtown but also lengthen the lifespan of the boxes and act as a graffiti deterrent.

    This competition is open to local artists of all ages, at all levels of their artistic practice. The City's Public Art Program and Heart of our City Committee of Council will fund the production of the artwork. Selected artists will receive $500 per utility box for their creations.

    Proposal submissions will be accepted until March 23 with final designs required by June 1, 2020. For more information on the submission and evaluation process visit: https://www.publicartlethbridge.ca/current-calls

    *image from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

    Contact:
    Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager
    City of Lethbridge
    403-320-3926 | andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca