City announces new two-year strategy to stimulate downtown vibrancy
The City of Edmonton has announced a new two-year Downtown Vibrancy Strategy to support businesses, visitors, employees and residents of downtown. The Strategy outlines short-term steps the City, along with its many dedicated partners, will take to re-energize and activate the heart of Edmonton.
The strategy focuses on four pillars:
Downtown as a home
Downtown as an economic hub
Downtown as a destination
Downtown as a safe, welcoming place
Each pillar outlines the budgets and resources needed to achieve each action, including potential leads and partners.
“Putting the strategy into action requires intentional partnerships; coordinated efforts of the City of Edmonton, other orders of government, agencies, industry, downtown employers, land owners and Edmontonians,” said City Manager Andre Corbould. “Leveraging these partnerships will ensure the City is strategic in supporting business owners in navigating and overcoming the challenges they are experiencing as they serve citizens.”
The Strategy also aims to help Edmonton’s downtown recover from the financial and social effects of COVID-19. This Strategy recognizes the importance a strong, vibrant downtown has on our city and region. Edmonton’s downtown generates nine per cent of the City’s property taxes in only one per cent of its area and more than $4.4 billion in private and institutional investment.
“The pandemic has impacted our city centre particularly hard as fewer people visit, work, shop and study downtown,” said Urban Planning and Economy Deputy City Manager Stepanie McCabe. “Prior to COVID, economic indicators for Downtown had trended positive since 2017 and we have seen significant transformational change in our core. Our Downtown Vibrancy Strategy charts a course toward catalyzing that momentum again.”
The Downtown Vibrancy Strategy builds on steps the City has already taken to support downtown. These include:
Shared streets initiatives
Free parking promotions
Temporary Patio and Retail Extension Program
Economic recovery and downtown construction grants
Activations like Downtown Spark
Combined with planned capital projects such as the Warehouse Campus Park, this work totals over $271 million in public investment downtown over the short term.
“This new strategy will build off of the learnings and successes of our many downtown revitalization initiatives,” said Corbould. “We remain committed to creating the conditions for a vibrant downtown throughout our COVID-19 recovery and into the future.”
Edmontonians can follow the work ahead and watch for new activities and events taking place downtown by visiting edmonton.ca/downtown.