Downtown Rehab back on the table for budget discussions

Main street in the downtown core of Grande Prairie, Alta. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. John Watson / Daily Herald-Tribune

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City council will mull whether or not to continue the Downtown Rehabilitation Project next year during its budget deliberations later this fall.

These improvements to the downtown core are estimated at over $20 million—$16,180,000 for Phase 4 and $5,280,000 for Phase 4A.

“It is a lot of money but already the results that we’ve seen from phases one through three, the multi-use buildings that are coming up now,” said Wendy Bosch with the Downtown Association.

“That’s only the potential to what will happen in the future.”

Phases 4 and 4A involve work on deep utility replacement, urban roadways and streetscape elements. Phase 4 covers 100 Avenue from west of 100 Street to 98 Street, while Phase 4A includes 100 Street from north of 99 Street to north of 101 Avenue.

During last year’s budget deliberations, council postponed Phases 4 and 4A in order to help implement a 4.1 per cent reduction in property taxes.

“I empathize with our city council,” Bosch said.

“They have to look after the entire city—not just the core—so I can appreciate what they’re doing in looking at funds but you finish what you start.”

Bosch also noted the “tough period” of construction for businesses during the first three phases.

“There was definitely construction fatigue and we have to be cognizant of that,” she said.

“But we also need to finish so that we can focus so that we have a bright future ahead of us.”

Bosch added that downtown businesses might want only one phase to proceed at a time but warned against “partial jobs.”

“Nobody buys a set of three tires,” she said.

“We need to get this finished at some point.”

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