Robert Friss wants to commit the next four years of his life to make Red Deer better.
To do that, he is running for councillor in the civic election.
Friss sees the Riverlands redevelopment as an opportunity to bring an entertainment district to downtown. He believes a hotel and casino with a venue to stage concerts or sporting events in the area would help revitalize the downtown core.
“It’s time to contribute a bit,” said Friss. “I’ve never seen small business having such a tough time. We’re losing businesses and markets.
“I’d like to go to council, if the citizens will have me, and be the guy who takes care of the money. We need to have businesses come back, and we need to maintain their bottom line. That will afford us cultural, environmental and social programs.”
He said the provincial NDP is anti-business, and the federal Liberal governments are anti-Alberta.
“A downtown of any city is the heart of the city,” said Friss. “We don’t even have a heartbeat. Nobody wants to go downtown.
“What if we put a hotel, a Las Vegas-style casino and a nice little Winspear-type theatre. We can have ourselves an entertainment district, much like how Edmonton saved its downtown by putting Rogers Place downtown. That city has changed.”
Though he admits people may argue against a casino, Friss points out it does bring in money. He envisions a city that brings people in through the airport on golf packages and has a junior football team that plays out of Great Chief Park and brings more people to the community.
“With a thousand people downtown a couple of times a week, don’t you think the downtown would revitalize itself,” said Friss. “We’ll have more investment downtown.”
Friss, who lives in Red Deer with his wife and children, runs a gym and tanning salon in downtown Red Deer. He has owned the gym and tanning salon for a decade.