#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.

  • 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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  • Downtown Events Add to Exciting and VIbrant Downtown

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    Attracting people year round to the downtown has been a central goal of the Heart of Our City Committee over the last decade as people are the key to an exciting, vibrant, and animated downtown environment.

    In 2011, with the belief that increasing the number events and festivals in the downtown core would help drive animation, vibrancy, and overall positive awareness of Lethbridge Downtown, the Heart of Our City Committee launched a new initiative entitled the Heart of Our City Activity Grant. The initiative would provide City of Lethbridge funds to help local organizations host festivals and cultural or community events within the downtown core.

    Over the first eight years, the initiative has proven to be tremendously successful in bringing people from across the entire city downtown on a regular basis, including many who do not live or work near downtown. This serves not only to make downtown more vibrant during the events themselves but also to make a wider portion of the community aware of the unique amenities that exist in the downtown core. Once a citizen has been exposed to all that downtown has to offer, they are more likely to visit downtown for shopping/dining/entertainment on other occasions and are even more likely to consider living downtown or perhaps locating their business downtown.

    In 2018, 23 events were provided grant funding which resulted in 115 days of additional event based activation of the downtown drawing approximately 65,000 visitors into the Downtown. There are several major activity grant-supported events still to come in 2018, and I encourage citizens to get out to these great events and enjoy our downtown. Upcoming events include: Arts Days Sept. 22-30; The Word on The Street Festival Sept. 22; Bright Lights Festival Nov. 16; Queen Scarlet Cinema Sept. 12, Oct. 18, and Nov. 21; and Lunch and Learn Concert Series Oct. 5, Nov. 2, and Dec. 7.

    The 2019 Activity Grant submissions will be open soon with a deadline of Oct. 31, 2018. For more details please stay tuned to www.lethbridge.ca or contact andrew.malcolm@lethbridge.ca.

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


    *This column was published on September 10, 2018 in the Lethbridge Herald.



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  • State of a Downtown Speaks Volumes About a City

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    Think of any city you’ve come to love. Whether it’s world renowned, a centuries-old classic or comparatively new and contemporary, every one of them has a vibrant place at its core – Downtown.

    Downtowns are iconic and powerful symbols for cities. They often feature the most recognizable landmarks, distinctive businesses, vibrant streets and diverse people. Given that downtowns are typically among the oldest neighbourhoods in most cities, they offer insights into their cities’ past, present, and future; while giving you a sense of a city’s personality.

    A city’s downtown has an important and unique role in economic and social development. Downtowns create a critical mass of activities where commercial, cultural, and civic activities are concentrated. This concentration facilitates business, learning, and cultural exchange. They are also often the hotbed of business creativity, neighbourhood activism, non-profit enterprise and economic diversity as well as a destination for visitors, seniors, and young talent.

    Revitalization of downtown areas can be extremely challenging for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: balancing the needs of diverse uses and users unlike any other area in the city, making considerations for the car in an area primarily developed prior to the car-dominated culture of today, competing with development on the edge of the city where development opportunities are basically a clear canvas, and addressing areas that may be neglected, struggling, or contentious. The challenging process of downtown revitalization is continual and never complete – but it is always exciting and extremely rewarding.

    Over the past two decades, with the guidance of the Heart of Our City Master Plan, much work has been accomplished to revitalize and strengthen Downtown as the symbolic and historic heart of Lethbridge. These successes are largely a result of the ongoing process of revitalization which incorporates projects, initiatives, incentives, and events hosted or supported by the City of Lethbridge, the Heart of Our City Committee, the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), and the efforts of countless individuals who frequent and support the Downtown on a day-to-day basis.

    Today, Downtown Lethbridge is a vibrant place distinguished by its rich past that is evident in architecture, streets, parks, and landmarks, which also reflect the community values that are unique to Lethbridge as a whole. Downtown is thus both a source and an expression of community identity and pride.

    This new bi-weekly column will highlight some of the efforts going on behind the scenes to ensure that our Downtown remains a central gathering place where all Lethbridge residents have the opportunity to live, work, shop, play, dream, and connect.

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

    *This column was published August 27, 2018 in the Lethbridge Herald.


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Page last updated: 13 Apr 2023, 09:37 AM