An open street on Ross for the summer

A section of parking on Ross Street will be closed for the summer to make way for outdoor cafes and live entertainment.

A section of parking on Ross Street will be closed for the summer to make way for outdoor cafes and live entertainment.

Red Deer city council unanimously supported a resolution on Monday to shut down one westbound lane on the north side of Ross Street between Gaetz Avenue and Veterans’ Park. The closure would happen the week of June 4 through the week of Oct. 1, weather permitting.

Last October, the city held a Ross Street Experiment where patio tables and chairs were set up after 17 angle parking stalls were shut down on the north side.

People could simply hang out, listen to music, have something to eat and go shopping.

Charity Dyke, greater downtown co-ordinator for the City of Red Deer, said the pedestrian-friendly experiment was a huge hit with visitors and shop owners.

She said businesses, restaurants and organizations will be able to use the public space as they see fit through the week.

Dyke received $25,000 in 2011 from the city’s Downtown Reserve towards additional programming.

A loading zone would be allowed on the north side on the western end of the closure.

Details are still being worked out, but so far these programs will take place during Thursday lunch hours. As well, entertainment will be included in programming on Wednesday nights, plus the downtown farmer’s market held on the same night will be moved to the area.

The market will run in the 4900 block of Gaetz Avenue instead of in the former Arlington Inn parking lot.

“In addition, if we can get all the funding in place and some potential sponsorship, we’re looking at doing two significant concerts in the downtown,” said Dyke.

Council had three options to consider for the north side of the street: Option 1 — no parking; Option 2 — same but allowing for one on-street handicap parking stall; and Option 3 — allowing parallel parking and one handicap parking stall.

Council supported a modified Option 2 with a loading zone instead of a handicapped parking stall. Cost is $142,000.

The expense includes installing additional planters and trees, hanging baskets, plus round tables and seating. A street piano will also be placed there. Some of the cost will be used towards paying staff to do this work.

The budget would come from surplus dollars realized from the first phase of the Gaetz Avenue Revitalization Project.

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