A large archway with the word “downtown” is moving the $9-million transformation of Gaetz Avenue to its finale.
The archway was placed over the entrance on Gaetz Avenue, just north of 52nd Street, on Thursday.
Charity Dyke, Greater Downtown co-ordinator, said there’s only some minor road work remaining in the multi-year redevelopment project.
Dyke said the archway creates a much-needed visual cue for visitors to Red Deer and those living in the city.
When visiting the city in 2011, Roger Brooks, a Seattle-based expert on downtown revitalization, said he could not find Red Deer’s downtown. Brooks asked others staying at a local hotel and they didn’t know either.
Brooks said Red Deer’s downtown needs defined districts, a brand, clustered speciality businesses and better signs.
The city is searching for its “identity” in its Uncover Red Deer project and is making some progress on its major Greater Downtown Action Plan involving Historic Downtown, Railyards and Riverlands, the three districts that make up the downtown.
“We need people to visit the downtown and we need people to live in the downtown,” said Dyke. “The important part of that is people need to know where our downtown is.”
Dyke said they want people to visit the stores, the restaurants and the activities happening in the downtown.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony with fun activities for the whole family is slated for July 12.
“Celebrate our centennial year and the completion of the Gaetz Avenue revitalization,” she said.
Since 2011, crews have been repaving the streets, adding paving stones, old-fashioned street lights, more trees and sidewalk enhancements on Gaetz Avenue.