Category revitalization   Show all

  • Things will be great when you’re Downtown

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    The arrival of the Labour Day weekend means the unofficial end of summer. It can, however, also be a time to look back at a summertime that featured a full return of happening events in Downtown Lethbridge.

    An exciting range of activities have been hosted Downtown for the past several months, many of which had financial support through the City of Lethbridge, Opportunity Lethbridge, with the support of the Heart of Our City Committee (HOCC) through the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant.

    In late June, the new Festival Square opened and has already hosted nearly 25 bookings, not including the weekly Downtown Farmers' Market. The hugely successful Patios and Parklets has continued this summer, while the first Whoop-Up Days parade since 2019 returned to the streets of Downtown Lethbridge last week, which highlighted the significant improvements along 3 Avenue.

    "We have been thrilled at the overall level of interest and the full return of events has been a great opportunity to continue enhancing and revitalizing Downtown Lethbridge," says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager.


    "Festival Square offers the Downtown and broader community a beautiful place in which to gather and celebrate," says Sarah Amies, Community Director for the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone. "The Lethbridge BRZ is delighted with the activation of and general interest in the space thus far and is busily planning winter season activities for all to enjoy."

    Some of the new or returning events in Downtown Lethbridge for 2022 include:

    • Artcade
    • Arts In The Park
    • Centric MusicFest Pop-up Concerts
    • Downtown Farmers' Market
    • Downtown Roller Jam with Roller Skate Lethbridge
    • First Friday Lunch & Listen Concert Series
    • Foodie Fest
    • The Gate Church's Summer Fam Jam
    • Horses in the Park from the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association
    • History and Beer Tour
    • Hootenanny
    • Lethbridge ArtDays
    • Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival
    • Lethbridge Jazz Festival
    • Lethbridge Pride Festival & Parade
    • Outdoor Viewing Party of Amazing Race Canada, in partnership with Tourism Lethbridge
    • Outdoor Viewing party for NHL playoffs Battle of Alberta Game 4 in the Core
    • Oktoberfest YQL (which, after several years at Exhibition Park, will return to Downtown Lethbridge at Festival Square September 9 and 10)
    • Pop Up Yoga
    • Shakespeare In The Park
    • Street Machine Weekend
    • Upside Downtown concert and art series at Rotary Square outside Casa
    • Wide Skies Festival

    "Presenting events in Downtown Lethbridge has always been very important to The Geomatic Attic," says Mike Spencer, Director of The Geomatic Attic. "Our Wide Skies Music Festival was created in 2017 with one of the main goals being to celebrate and bring people to our beautiful inner core locations. In summer 2022, Wide Skies once again highlighted big talent touring musicians at unique venues, with shows at the top level of the City of Lethbridge Regional Park 'n' Ride Transit Terminal and then at the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge parking lot."

    Safety is a top priority for everyone and a concerted effort has been ongoing to add more people and activities to public spaces in Downtown Lethbridge. By having increased numbers of people visible in our public spaces, it discourages negative behaviours and increases the sense of safety and community. The Watch Program, Galt Gardens Security, the Clean Sweep Program and Parks Maintenance all continue to work together to create a safe play space for families.

    "All of these events and activities generate extra foot traffic and have a collective positive economic impact for many of the small- and medium-sized businesses who call Downtown home, says Malcolm. "We look forward to more announcements for the winter months and, of course, into summer 2023."

    Through the Heart of Our City committee and the Urban Revitalization Department, numerous programs and incentives are available to provide financial assistance that will continue to stimulate growth and development in the Downtown. More information here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/Downtown/Pages/Incentives-Programs.aspx

    More information on Downtown Lethbridge can be found here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/Downtown/Pages/default.aspx and at https://www.downtownlethbridge.com/




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  • City awarded $375,000 from Federal Government’s Canada Community Revitalization Fund for new play space in Galt Gardens

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    The City of Lethbridge has been successful in securing $375,000 in grant funding through the Government of Canada’s Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF) to construct a new Inclusive and Accessible Play Space in Galt Gardens that will add to community vibrancy and the vitality of downtown by fostering active, social, educational, inclusive and accessible play opportunities.


    The CCRF is a two-year $500 million national infrastructure program meant to support communities across the country with projects that revitalize downtown cores and main streets, reinvent outdoor spaces, create green infrastructure and address accessibility of community space. PrairiesCan is administering the CCRF in Alberta.

    Leveraging the exciting synergies created between Casa, Rotary Fountain, 3 Avenue Reconstruction, Festival Square, and the pending SAAG expansion; the play space will act as a catalyst to attract residents and tourists to the core, support local shopping, enhance children’s programming of the adjacent Southern Alberta Art Gallery and Casa, and address a notable gap in recreation and play opportunities within a 10-minute walking distance of Downtown Lethbridge.

    The project has an approved budget of $500,000 – 75 per cent of which ($375,000) is being funded by the CCRF grant. Lethbridge City Council approved the additional 25 per cent ($125,000) within Urban Core Public Realm Enhancements D-20 in the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program.

    “This addition to a concentrated nucleus of redevelopment and vibrancy we are developing in the heart of Downtown Lethbridge is a great step forward to helping the public perception,” says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager. “Galt Gardens is the ‘Central Park’ of Lethbridge and is the primary downtown festival and events park in the city. We are thrilled for this funding to help provide a new daily use option that will bring enjoyment and fun to this important downtown park.”

    “Our government is making investments that transform public infrastructure into modern gathering places for residents and visitors of all ages through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund,” said the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “Today’s support to revitalize Galt Gardens in Lethbridge will help create an inclusive and accessible community space where everyone can gather and enjoy outdoor activities.”

    “Parks and public spaces across Alberta communities bring people together, attract visitors to downtown cores and help support countless small businesses,” said the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance. “Today’s investment in Galt Gardens will help support recovery in Lethbridge by creating more jobs and provide opportunities for residents and visitors to benefit from the local businesses and attractions that are at the heart of this community.”

    A community advisory committee, which includes representation from the Heart of Our City Committee, the Downtown BRZ, Casa, SAAG, Lethbridge Plays, and the Rotary Club of Lethbridge, have been consulted for initial design ideas. Detailed design is underway, to be then followed by construction this summer and fall, with an opening date of Spring 2023.

    Media Contact:
    media@lethbridge.ca

  • Festival Square Market Plaza - Construction Update (Dec 2021)

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    Festival Square Construction Paused for Winter

    Once concrete work is completed this week at Festival Square on 6 Street South, just off 3 Avenue, construction on the project will cease until the spring.

    The portion of 6 Street between 3 Avenue and 4 Avenue is still closed to vehicle traffic, as the new concrete needs time to cure. It is anticipated that this stretch of road, as well as the adjacent laneway, will temporarily reopen by early January until construction can resume in the spring.

    Construction fencing will be moved from the road and laneway but will remain around the plaza component.

    With a June 2022 target date for construction completion, as well as a potential grand opening, the new Festival Square Market Plaza will be a versatile, active and engaging public space for people and the local businesses in the area. The main draw will be its offering as a year-round permanent market space with supporting infrastructure to support local producers, artisans, and craftspeople a place to sell their wares year-round. The project includes an interactive stage, entry signs, decorative column lighting, programmable lighting and site furniture, as well as water/wastewater servicing and lane rehab.

    More information here: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown

    In July 2021, Lethbridge City Council voted 6-3 to proceed with a revised plan for Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) funded projects which include the $1.71 million Festival Square Market Plaza, allowing Festival Square to proceed – without any City funding – to ensure that the project is delivered as an economic catalyst for downtown. The revised completion date will not impact the grant funding.

    Full background here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/NewsCentre/Pages/Council-greenlights-revisions-to-Municipal-Stimulus-Program-projects.aspx

    Third Avenue South between 4 Street and 8 Street in Downtown Lethbridge recently re-opened to vehicle traffic. That Reconstruction Project is nearing overall completion, with some minor work remaining to be done in spring 2022.

    Motorists are advised to drive with caution in this area and follow posted detours.

    Construction Photos


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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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