Red Deer’s downtown is in search of an identity.
The City of Red Deer is forming a new committee geared towards developing a new downtown identity plan. Residents, business owners, staff of agencies or churches, and students can volunteer to sit on the committee and bring their ideas to the table, said Emily Damberger, planning manager for the city.
While concerns about the city’s core were aired during recent discussions about the homeless shelter, Damberger said that’s not why this committee is being set up.
Some money for this identity exercise was freed up in the 2021 budget — but the idea actually stems from a 2013 Identity Plan for Red Deer, done for the city’s centennary. “Now we are doing a similar exercise for the downtown,” said Damberger.
While committee members can discuss the social disorder concerns that were brought up at the recent shelter public hearings, Damberger said a much broader view will be taken to examine the kind of things that could encourage people to shop, eat, work and live and otherwise spend time in the downtown.
Whether Red Deerians want more festivals and special events, boutiques or outdoor patios, or different parking parametres — all ideas will be on the table, said Damberger, who doesn’t want to be prescriptive.
A Community Collaboration Committee is being formed to work with city officials to develop a strategic Downtown Identity Plan that will align “collective visioning and strategic planning initiatives,” and identify targeted actions for the city and the community.
The committee has been designed to reflect a multi-disciplinary, diverse membership and will consist of eight to 12 appointed members comprised of one of each of the following:
– a downtown business owner
– a community agency or member of the faith community representative from anywhere in the city
– a downtown resident
– an employee of the downtown
– a student
– a community member at large
– a representative of The Downtown Business Association
– a representative of The Chamber of Commerce
– representative of the arts and culture sector
– a tourism sector representative
– a health care professional and/or a public service representative
The committee will begin meeting this summer for a six to nine-month term that will end with a report being presented to city council.
The city will accept applications until June 16, at 9 a.m. Some committee members must live, work, or own property in the greater downtown area, including Parkvale, downtown, Capstone and Railyards, while others can particiate from across Red Deer.
More details about the committee, available positions and application forms are available online at www.reddeer.ca/councilcommittees.