Category redevelopment   Show all

  • 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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  • 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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  • City to support redevelopment of Post Office building

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    Following more than a year of behind the scenes planning, the City of Lethbridge is excited to see Sumus Property Group Ltd. starting an extensive modernization of the downtown Post Office building.

    While specific details are still to be finalized, the City of Lethbridge is committed to supporting the redevelopment through improvements to the public space surrounding the building. This includes the addition of a new cycling lane on 7 Street and a public art feature. Sumus Property Group Ltd and the City of Lethbridge will also establish a long-term agreement for parking in the downtown Park 'n' Ride facility and work together to access any available development grant incentives.

    The construction costs are projected to exceed $12 million, which would represent the biggest single private investment in the downtown in nearly 20 years. This comes just months after Six08 Health announced a major redevelopment on 5 Ave. S. Combined, these two projects amount to a nearly $17 million investment in downtown Lethbridge.

    "We are excited to be part of a joint commitment to revitalize and modernize the downtown Post Office as this project will breathe new life into our city's most iconic building," says Andrew Malcolm, City of Lethbridge, Urban Revitalization Manager. "This is another fantastic project that will bring more people, more activity and more vitality to the downtown."

    "When looking for real estate opportunities there is significant value in something non-replicable. The downtown Post building fits this description with its unique history and accessible location," says Kendal Hachkowski, Sumus Property Group Ltd. Managing Director. "In conjunction with our many partners, and a special thank you to the City of Lethbridge, the Post will be a new businesses hub for innovation, community and collaboration."

    Also known as the J.D. Higinbotham Building, the Post Office is designated a Provincial Historic Building. It was constructed in 1912-13 to the designs of Chief Architect David Ewart. The Post Office has always held significance because of its status as a civic landmark. The height, architectural detail and unique character of the domed clock tower make it one of the most prominent buildings in Lethbridge.

    For more information on events, activities and redevelopment incentives for downtown Lethbridge visit www.lethbridge.ca/downtown.


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  • Recently Approved Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program Ready to Launch

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    Recently Approved Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program Ready to Launch

    Applications for the City’s new Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program will be accepted starting August 26. The program provides a matching grant to those wishing to renovate or adapt existing buildings that have historically significance, are deteriorating or that need improvement to meet current fire and building codes.

    The Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program aims to support business and property owners in addressing the financial barriers that come with aging buildings. By giving new life to existing buildings, there is significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the community. This program will help add function, safety and vibrancy to the spaces that make Lethbridge unique.

    The Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program can provide up to $100,000 in matching funding per property and applies to buildings in the downtown, warehouse district and 13 St. N.

    City Council approved $900,000 in funding for the Adaptive Reuse Incentive Program as part of the 2019-2022 Operating Budget. This will be spread out over the 4-year period.

    Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Should there be inadequate annual funding to meet demand, applications will be held in queue and processed in chronological order as funding becomes available.

    Details on the program including eligibility and funding can be found website at: www.lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives.





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  • Downtown a Focus of City Open House

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    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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  • Lots to be excited about for downtown in 2019

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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.

    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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  • Historic Buildings Add to Downtown

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    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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