Patio pilot worth saving
Have you been downtown lately? If the answer is no, you should treat yourself. Ever since June, the downtown core has been a focal point for the City of Red Deer’s Best Summer Ever, and it’s living up to the hype.
Head down on any Wednesday afternoon and enjoy a concert on the award-winning Ross Street Patio. As offerings include a myriad of our own artists, the concert series has been a boon for both local musicians and citizens alike, pairing summer sunshine and patio atmosphere with community in ways that the downtown core has never seen before. Then stroll over to Little Gaetz for the delectable treats offered at the Downtown Farmer’s Market.
If you missed the music on Wednesday, an encore performance is held on Thursday morning, further cementing the relationship between our local artists and Red Deer’s fine citizens.
Food truck Fridays has been a great success, allowing patrons to sample the culinary offerings of many specialty food trucks in the city. Come back Friday night for the resoundingly successful Best Summer Ever Concert Series held on the Ross Street Patio the first Friday of every month, as again local bands grace a temporarily constructed stage set up on the patio. Come early, grab a bite from one of the many wonderful restaurants (or food trucks!) and pull up a lawn chair, provided by the city.
There has been extensive revitalization work in our downtown core, increasing walkability and creating a vibrant atmosphere where people come together in pedestrian and family friendly splendour. Our core has been transformed into a community space that hasn’t been seen in this city for decades, and first up on the list of reasons for this success is the Ross Street Patio. Launched as a pilot project last year, and brought back by popular demand this year, the Ross Street Patio is already making international waves.
The City of Red Deer was recognized by the International Downtown Association’s Downtown Merit Award for the work and initiatives related to the Ross Street Patio. This category recognizes capital improvements that enhance the urban design, physical function, or economic viability of downtown and the community.
“The Ross Street Patio brought a whole new dynamic into our downtown. As a pilot project it was very successful in showing how streets can be transformed into vibrant gathering spaces. The Ross Street Patio is a shining example of excellent downtown management that delivers real results.”
— Craig Curtis, city manager
Believe it or not, the future of the Ross Street Patio is in question. This fall, our newly elected city council will revisit the Ross Street Patio Project, to be included in the Capital Budget for 2014, and suggesting a permanent summer seasonal installation. There is even talk of a new pilot project to utilize the patio during the winter, complete with fun and exciting winter programming.
With the October municipal election looming, we’ve noticed many new city council candidates declaring an opposition to this award-winning, city-enhancing community space, and we at the Red Deer Arts Council are urging our membership and all forward-thinking citizens to launch a letter-writing campaign in support of this valuable addition to our core.
Write your city council. Write your mayor. They won’t know your thoughts unless you tell them. It’s up to us, the residents of this city, to guide their decisions. In this case, it’s imperative. And easy. Six words is all it takes: “I support the Ross Street Patio.”
Your voice matters.
Secretary, Executive board
Red Deer Arts Council