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Edmonton reveals plan to revitalize downtown

Edmonton reveals plan to revitalize downtown
PROVINCE OF ALBERTA—Edmonton officials have announced a new plan to support economic recovery and business activity in the downtown core.

EDMONTON—Edmonton officials have unveiled a two-year strategy to reinvigorate the city’s downtown.

The strategy aims to support businesses, visitors, employees and residents of downtown. It outlines short-term steps the city and its partners intend to take

The strategy breaks down into four pillars: downtown as a home; an economic hub; a destination; and a safe, welcoming place.

Each pillar outlines the budgets and resources needed to achieve each action, including potential leads and partners.

“Putting the strategy into action requires intentional partnerships; co-ordinated efforts of the City of Edmonton, other orders of government, agencies, industry, downtown employers, land owners and Edmontonians,” said city manager Andre Corbould in a statement. “Leveraging these partnerships will ensure the city is strategic in supporting business owners in navigating and overcoming the challenges they are experiencing as they serve citizens.”

Another goal of the strategy is to encourage economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. Edmonton’s downtown generates nine per cent of the city’s property taxes in only one per cent of its area and more than $4.4 billion in private and institutional investment.

“The pandemic has impacted our city centre particularly hard as fewer people visit, work, shop and study downtown,” said Stepanie McCabe, urban planning and economy deputy city manager. “Prior to COVID, economic indicators for downtown had trended positive since 2017 and we have seen significant transformational change in our core. Our Downtown Vibrancy Strategy charts a course toward catalyzing that momentum again.”

The plan builds on steps the city has already taken to support downtown. These include: shared streets initiatives, free parking promotions, a temporary Patio and Retail Extension Program, economic recovery and downtown construction grants and activations like Downtown Spark.

Combined with planned capital projects such as the Warehouse Campus Park, the work totals over $271 million in public investment downtown over the short term.

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