Sparwood councillors have given the thumbs up for a revised revitalization of Centennial Square which retains storefront parking.
The new design, which will see a complete redesign of almost the entire square and immediate streetscape, is projected to cost a total of $2.2 million.
The district has $600,000 in confirmed grant funding, and has applications in for another $1.35 million in grants, potentially lowering the cost of the project for the district to a quarter of a million dollars. However, only $600,000 in grants are confirmed, with the current cost estimate sitting at $1.6 million.
A previous design had been rejected by businesses and councillors based on its lack of storefront parking, prompting councillors to request staff return with revised options that retained parking. Councillors also deleted multiple additional phases of a grander proposal for the town centre such as landscaping at Municipal Hall, a pedestrian promenade to Aspen Drive, new streetscape works for Centennial Street and a re-vamped parking plaza.
Councillors expressed a desire to focus on the square itself.
The option now supported by a majority of councillors includes an all-new Central Plaza for the square, a new multi-use event lawn using land that the district is in negotiations to acquire from the neighbouring Catholic Church, along with streetscape amenities to improve access and encourage usage.
The design allows for the additional of a move-able stage for events, and a playground. Councillors nixed any plans for a landmark tower and a water feature.
During discussion, Mayor David Wilks said that he had endeavored to engage with businesses in Centennial Square to ensure they were supportive of options presented to council. He said that each business had indicated parking was their primary concern, and the option selected by council addressed that by preserving storefront parking.
The design option selected reduces parking from 31 currently. The option selected (3-C) shows 13 spaces (of which four would be deleted by seasonal patios) and two accessible parking spots.
During discussion, councillors Bowen and Saad expressed opposition, citing cost. Councillor Saad said that he wanted efforts to go towards the multi-purpose indoor facility currently being considered by the district, and preferred for Centennial Square efforts to remain as basic as possible.
No further public consultation will take place for the project. It will now move into the design phase. Mayor Wilks said he was hopeful that works could begin in 2021, but 2022 was a more realistic timeline.
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