#OurDowntown

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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.

  • Indigenous public art unveiled Downtown in Reconciliation community partnership initiative

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    Reconciliation, community partnership and public art have come together to provide a vibrant street front on 4 Avenue this week with the unveiling of a unique installation Downtown.

    The City of Lethbridge, through the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee (RLAC), community partner TELUS, Heart of Our City Committee (HOC) and Public Art Committee put out a call for Indigenous artists to create artworks which reflect the theme of the 5th Annual Reconciliation Week: Voice and Representation. Artists Natoyihkii (Cheyenne McGinnis). and Nato’yi’kina’soyi (Hali Heavy Shield) were the successful applicants.

    “I really hope that my artwork instills pride and confidence to the youth trying to learn Blackfoot,” says artist Natoyihkii (McGinnis). “When applying to this opportunity I wanted to showcase the strength of women in our community and also showcase the language. With this brightly coloured piece, I hope it brings joy to the pedestrians of Lethbridge and helps them to learn a bit of the language.”

    Installed on the windows of the TELUS building downtown, the public art project is on full display for residents and visitors alike.

    "We are honoured to share this space in downtown Lethbridge to showcase Hali Heavy Shield and Cheyenne McGinnis’s art,” said Theresa Lynn, General Manager for Southern Alberta. “TELUS is committed to supporting the artistic practices of Indigenous Peoples, while being mindful of the historic role organizations have played in the misappropriation of Indigenous art and culture. As part of our Reconciliation journey we strive to create space to learn more about our shared history and commit to take action going forward.”

    "I want people to feel inspired and hopeful when they view my work,” says artist Nato’yi’kina’soyi (Heavy Shield). “We're living in wounded times, so it's more important than ever to make Blackfoot language and culture visible in the city."

    Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Treena Tallow, says she hopes the artwork’s vibrancy catches people’s attention and prompts questions and conversation in the community.

    “We’re thrilled to see both Hali and Cheyenne’s work on display and hope the community takes time to appreciate the meaning behind each piece,” says RLAC Co-Chair, Treena Tallow. “By having this beautiful artwork on such a public-facing space, we hope it sparks conversation about Reconciliation and brings focus to this year’s theme, voice and representation.”

    This initiative is one of many taking place across the city in order to advance the conversation around Truth and Reconciliation in our community. In addition to the ongoing work with MMIWG Recommendations and Work Plan, there are several upcoming City initiatives underway including the Indigenous Placemaking Strategy and Public Realm Audit, Indigenous Awareness Training Program for all City staff and Indigenous Cultural Centre (ICC) Governance and Operations Planning.

    Reconciliation Week 2021 will play host to a variety of opportunities for education and engagement under the theme of voice and recognition. There are both virtual and in-person events being held by many community organizations across the city. For more information on these events, head to Lethbridge.ca/indigenousrelations or to the RLAC Facebook page.

  • Festival Square Reconstruction Set to Begin on 6th Street South

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    Starting Tuesday, September 7, 6 Street South will be closed from the intersection at 3 Avenue to the laneway just south of the Downtown BRZ office as construction on Festival Square is set to begin.

    The laneway will remain open and there will be turnarounds in place on 6 Street and 3 Avenue. This project is going to be in progress for the next two to three months.

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

    In July, 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 new Festival Square Market Plaza will include an interactive stage, entry signs, decorative column lighting, programmable lighting and site furniture, as well as water/wastewater servicing and lane rehab.

    Previous News Release: https://www.lethbridge.ca/NewsCentre/Pages/Council-greenlights-revisions-to-Municipal-Stimulus-Program-projects.aspx

    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


  • 700 Block of 3 Avenue to re-open as Reconstruction Project Continues

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    The block of 3 Avenue South between 7 Street and 8 Street is set to re-open to vehicle traffic later today, Friday, July 16.

    This area is part of the 3 Avenue South Reconstruction Project between 4 Street and 8 Street in Downtown Lethbridge. Work has already started on the next project phase, between 4 Street and 5 Street – which is now closed. North-south traffic on 4 Street remains open at this stage, with a new, temporary three-way stop to be in place.

    Starting Monday, July 19, the intersection at 3 Avenue and 5 Street will be fully closed with temporary turnarounds in place.

    A full project completion date is targeted for Fall 2021. An art installation on the construction fencing is underway, which will give people something to come and take a look at during 3 Avenue construction.

    Background:

    As one of the oldest streets in Lethbridge, 3 Avenue South has always been a vital part of the community, once serving as the main east/west highway through the city. This project will not only provide important utility and infrastructure upgrades to the street but it will also enhance the aesthetics of 3 Avenue.

    Major enhancements began in 2020 to our downtown by installing reliable infrastructure and they will ultimately create a street that is a safe, lively, accessible and beautiful. When completed, 3 Avenue will boast Lethbridge's first streetscaped design. Streetscaping brings together all of the elements that will give 3 Avenue character and make it functional like lighting, seating, paving materials and plants/trees.

    Originating in the Public Realm and Transportation Study (PRATS) (2012), this project was approved by City Council in the current Capital Improvement Program with a total budget of just over $10 million. A full breakdown of funding sources can be found here: https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/Projects-Initiatives/Current-Projects/Pages/3AveReconstruction.aspx

    Extensive public and stakeholder engagement leading up to the launch of the project and will continue that through the duration of the construction to keep everyone update on progress. For more information on this project visit https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/third-avenue or stop by the project office at 616 3 Avenue South.


  • Eleven Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grants Approved

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    From music festivals to business recruitments projects, 11 initiatives are set to benefit this summer with financial support from the new Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant.

    The concept originated through the Heart of Our City Committee (HOCC) re-imagining how to enhance vibrancy Downtown in the context of pandemic and post-pandemic realities. 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.

    The first of four intake opportunities was open until late June. Through the evaluative process, the review panel and the HOCC prioritized grant funding based on the criteria identified in the application package, with the 11 projects partially or fully funded for a combined $99,225.

    "Despite the short turn-around for applications, we saw a great deal of interest in Intake 1," says Andrew Malcom, Urban Revitalization Manager. "We received 19 applications with funding requests totaling in excess of $300,000 – thus there were not adequate funds to meet the demand. This is a great sign of things to come for Downtown Lethbridge."

    "Finding initiatives looking to create a critical mass of activity that will support local businesses and provide a feeling of safety and security through positivity was a top priority," says HOCC Chair Lorien Johansen.

    Total funding available for the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant in 2021 is $150,000, with applications eligible for up to $25,000. 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. More information can be found at lethbridge.ca/downtownincentives.

    A second intake will have an October 2021 deadline, with additional details coming soon. The HOCC encourages all unsuccessful applicants to reach out to City administration with any questions, concerns, and/or to receive individualized feedback on their application. They are encouraged to reapply in Intake 2. For those with an event-based initiative, the Community Event Support Grant also has an open intake until Fall 2021. More information is here: www.lethbridge.ca/Things-To-Do/Special-Events/Pages/Grants.aspx.

    Backgrounder: Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant Intake 1 approvals

    The Grants committee has approved these projects for Intake 1:

    • Upside Down - $15,000. Concert series to be held every Thursday evening from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., until September 2, on Rotary Square at Casa. Artists will include a diverse choice of musical, cultural and theatrical performances. A variety of food trucks will be invited in partnership with the BRZ to create a Dine in Downtown promotion.
    • Building Business Downtown Project - $15,000. A business recruitment project that aims to fill vacant storefronts in downtown Lethbridge. It will include a pitch competition, professional business guidance and see-through the execution of a business idea. Judges will pick one winner, but will also have the opportunity to make connections and offer deals on leases and mentorship to other entrepreneurs.
    • Lethbridge Electronic Music Fest - $14,795. This year's LEMF on September 25 will include two stages of electronic music, an all-Canadian lineup, artisan market, beer garden and kids zone.
    • Theatre Outré - $12,000. This project aims to draw new audiences to Didi's Playhaus and Downtown Lethbridge by establishing a fixture for weekly low-barrier entertainment and world-class theatre in a space inclusive to individuals from all gender, racial and sexual diversities.
    • Shakespeare - $10,000. Five performances of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, presented by Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society and directed by Andrew Legg. Performances will be in Galt Gardens on July 30, August 19 and 20, and at Casa on August 14.
    • Centric Music Fest - $8,850. Running Wednesdays until August 4, Centric MusicFest is a Classical and art music festival producing hybrid performances (online and in-person) of a variety of music genres. They are looking to add outdoor pop-up concerts throughout the downtown core.
    • Lighthouse on the Street - $7,500. To leverage the recently expanded sidewalk space in front of Lighthouse Restaurant, made possible by the 3rd Avenue Reconstruction project, they are hoping to add vibrant programming such as Taiko drumming and Tokyo Olympics viewing.
    • Downtown Farmers' Market - $6,750. The market occurs each Wednesday, beginning in July, until mid-September. This year, the market has expanded to take over the entire street space to allow for more vendors, entertainment and a space for seating.
    • LPL Outside - $4,730. Conceived by the Active Spaces team at Lethbridge Public Library with the goal of increasing positive activities at the library. By bringing library programming and events outside, they hope to attract those passing the library to come see what is happening.
    • Cigarette Butt - $3,000. By creating cigarette drums and smoker poles to place around downtown, this project aims to educate citizens while reducing cigarette litter in Downtown Lethbridge. Collected cigarettes will be shipped to Terracycle to be recycled, with $1 per pound of waste donated to the Interfaith Food Bank.
    • Lunch & Listen - $1,600. The Lunch & Listen Concert Series (located downtown at Casa and free to the public) offers wonderful classical music events to the public on the First Friday of every month. They have not been offered during the pandemic, but are looking to re-start in September.


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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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  • New Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant Launched

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    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many plans being altered. However, with the Provincial Government's new "Alberta Open for Summer" plan, the Heart of Our City Committee (HOCC) has been proactive to re-image how to enhance the vibrancy of Downtown in the context of pandemic and post-pandemic realities.

    The new Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant 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 – safely with COVID-19 restrictions in mind – within Downtown.

    The total funding available for the Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant in 2021 is $150,000, with applications eligible for up to $25,000. 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. On an annual basis, the grant has supported 20-25 events and festivals which have attracted 45,000-65,000 people per year.

    The HOCC felt it important to do as much as possible to safely encourage people back into the vacant and underutilized spaces of Downtown by supporting initiatives that look to create a critical mass of activity that supports local businesses, fosters healthy and safe social settings, and provides a feeling of safety and security through positivity," says HOCC Chair, Lorien Johansen.

    With the hopes of supporting initiatives as early as July, the first intake of new grant applications is open now and will close on June 25. 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.


    Image from ContainR project in Calgary, AB - https://springboardperformance.com/containr

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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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  • Exploring Reductions in Downtown Speed Limits

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    We heard you Lethbridge! In June we asked how you felt about lowering the speed limit in the downtown as a tool to create road safety and a comfortable place for walking and cycling. Boy, did you respond. We had one of the highest survey participation rates we’ve ever seen with 2204 people giving feedback.

    In the end 77% of residents felt the speed should stay the same so we will not be moving forward with this initiative at this time. We will continue to explore other ways to improve the vibrancy of downtown and increase road safety for all visitors everyone.

    If you would like to read the What We Heard Report including survey results visit: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/6524/widgets/25788/documents/38097/download

  • Seeking Feedback on Development of Downtown Persons

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    On June 22nd the Downtown BRZ, Heart of Our City Committee, and City of Lethbridge jointly announced a new and refreshed look for Downtown Lethbridge brand. As part of the next steps of implementing the brand, the downtown is looking to develop a better understanding of those citizens who currently use the downtown and how they would like to use the downtown into the future. This will allow for the evaluation of what services and amenities are missing from the downtown, and how to attract and retain businesses, organizations and residents in those spaces.

    Please take a few moments to complete the following public survey, it will remain open until July 24th, 2020.

    ACCESS SURVEY HERE: https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown/survey_tools/downtown-personas

    For more information on the refreshed Downtown Lethbridge brand check out www.downtownlethbridge.com.