The City is now entering the next stage of its Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (DARP) which first began in 2013.
The plan will see $1.7 million funded into Lacombe’s downtown core over the course of 10 years.
The DARP has already created projects like a downtown market, music in the park and public art installations such as the tree on 49 St. Prior to this announcement the document has served as a road map to direct council to what areas needed improvements. Now the project has a budget tied to it which council hopes will help create more progress.
After hearing the news Rieley Kay, a local business owner said he was cautiously optimistic and was looking forward to the potential upgrades.
“Anything more that can go on in the downtown is a huge win for the entire community,” said Kay.
Kay, who owns both Cilantro and Chive and Moe’s Pizza, would like to see improvements that will make pedestrian access to his restaurants easier. He added this would not only benefit him but the other businesses nearby as well.
“There are some very low cost changes that can be made downtown that would create a vibrant area where people want to be,” said Kay
According to Guy Lapointe, Lacombe’s Economic Development Manager, the DARP is designed for capital projects which include both large and small scale projects. Though crosswalks are considered infrastructure improvements and would be funded out of a different budget, the DARP will identify these areas for redevelopment.
“That work will happen regardless,” said Lapointe. “What you may see is instead of just a sidewalk, DARP will indicate a pride walk or something artistic be added to the area.”
Lapointe says DARP’s main goal is to understand what areas the public thinks should receive funding.
In addition to the survey, people can apply to join the DARP advisory committee that will analyze the survey results and create a plan for council. The committee will be created sometime in 2021.
Lapointe hopes the committee will be made up of residents, business owners who are passionate about the downtown revitalization. He recommends business owners who would like to be involved in the project and have their say apply to join the committee.
People interested in applying to the committee can submit their contact information via the survey.