Faye Hallett was not impressed by the accessibility of the newly renovated Culture Services building in Red Deer. She said new signs pointing out the disabled access door will be an improvement, but disabled parking is still lacking. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s Culture Services building to get new signage for $305,000

The disabled access door will be pointed out to visitors

Red Deer’s historic culture service building will receive $305,000 of upgrades — including signs that point out the disabled access door.

This will be welcome news to Red Deerians such as Faye Hallett, who complained last July of the city moving its culture services department, art workshops and expanded gallery into a building that was not very accessible to people with disabilities.

Hallett pointed out wheelchair access was through an unmarked and mostly locked door at the rear of the building.

Due to lack of signage, the 68-year-old, who has difficulty climbing stairs, had not known about the elevator at the north-side door when she visited the renovated culture services centre that was relocated to Central Intermediate School on 48th Avenue.

That’s about to change as funds are now in place to erect exterior “signage, pageantry and treatments” to enhance the building’s exterior and also improve visitors’ “wayfinding” experience when entering.

Red Deer city council approved $305,400 for this capital expense on Monday after a close-door meeting in which they learned some details around the project that are protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

There are limitations to what can be done to a building with heritage status, so no signs can be erected on the front to change its look, said Red Deer’s recreation, parks and culture manager, Shelley Gagnon.

But there are plans to erect a large, free-standing vertical sign with the yet-unnamed-building’s name and directions on the northwest corner of the property, she added.

Gagnon expects this work will be done later this year: “It should begin to help people know what’s there.”

The building’s interior is now complete, except for the fifth floor space, which will be left for tenants to renovate according to their needs. Although the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra has offices in the building, Gagnon said no decisions have been made about what to do with the fifth floor space — whether to rent it or use it for the city’s needs.

The building’s name is also yet to be determined.

Hallett said some signs to direct people to the disabled access door will be an improvement, but she remains concerned there’s only one disabled parking spot, and it is a distance from the door.

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