What we need to do is compete. This is possibly our best opportunity to create quick investment, drive economic renewal and drive tourism and enterprise to our neglected downtown core. Here is a case where we do not have to buy land, plan or rezone or budget new development money. We just have to encourage investment.The downtown is sitting there ready to go now and for the past 40 years.
If we know what we need to do and what it will take we can see if we have an appetite to continue. I personally do not think we have an option.
As earlier stated it is up to political will.
Saskatoon has three bid districts, downtown, Broadway and Riversdale. They are also working on Sutherland. Each have full time staff and funding from many resources including commitment from Parking revenues, grants and a levee. Yorkton funds it’s renewal with 4% levee and $100K and like us gets grants. Regina has special grants and provincial funding.
So you can see we need help to understand where we stand. The report requested will help council and the downtown association make informed decisions for the future.
Here are what some communities realize from downtown renewal;
- enhanced market place and better local shopping
- preservation of community for future generations
- sense of hometown and community
- more employment
- stronger tax base
- reduced cost of services such as police, and fire
- more visitors and increased tourism
- more jobs
- healthy local economy
- better relations with private and government sectors.
Currently 3000 people working downtown, 1.5 million in taxes and $473 thousand in parking revenues after the new meters are paid for in 2017.
The report will provide for information to decide if council has the will to add downtown renewal to our strategic plan. Other communities like Penticton have seen the opportunity and I ask you what is Prince Albert waiting for?
I ask you and our council to support downtown revitalization and renewal.