Red Deer’s marquee Riverlands is beginning to take shape.
A busy summer of construction is planned in the area west of Tayor Drive south of Gaetz Avenue.
While much of the activity scheduled for this year is unglamorous work replacing aging water lines, as well as stormwater, sewers and utility infrastructure, the vision for Riverlands is coming into focus.
Riverlands project manager Cory Edinga said work will get underway along Alexander Way from just west of Carnival Cinemas to the riverfront. Some work will be done on 45th Street, which runs along the river.
As well as trench work, there will be some grading and road base construction.
“It’s not going to look overly fancy, for the most part, this year,” he said on Tuesday.
“If we’re lucky, we’ll try and focus on the riverfront area,” he said, adding trails and sidewalks could get done.
Riverlands covers 12 acres and includes the former city public works yards, Cronquist Business Park, Carnival Cinemas, the Old Brew Plaza, and other commercial businesses and residential buildings.
The vision for Riverlands is a mixed-use urban neighbourhood in the downtown area with lively commercial streets, a variety of medium and high-density housing and public spaces that will draw people year round. The city owns more than nine hectares of developable land in Riverlands valued at about $30 million.
A centrepiece for Riverlands will be a civic plaza. It is meant to be a gathering place where events, celebrations and cultural events can be held.
“That’s part of what we’ll get started on this year,” said Edinga. “Then next year we hope to see it get finished off.”
Another unique feature that will begin to take shape is a park the city is calling the Green Spine.
“That basically is from the intersection of Ross and Taylor down parallel with the river towards Alexander Way.”
It will see a pond, play areas, an outdoor food court among other amenities.
“We’ll start doing some grading and getting ready for some of the main surface components. Then, hopefully, we’ll get to landscaping and that kind of stuff in the late summer or fall.”
Residents shouldn’t count on seeing the Green Spine complete this year but they should get a taste of what is coming.
“We’ll start seeming some of the prep work and start to see what it’s going to look like. Then we’ll finish that off next year.”