Downtown Revitalization Starting

This week we will start to see activity downtown in the 200 block of Main Street as we continue with our strategic priority of downtown revitalization. It was over 10 years ago when the City last had serious deliberations about revitalization, and 1978 was the last time work occurred on Main Street. 

We do have water mains and storm water pipes that are close to 60 years old and need to be replaced. While it does make sense to also beautify while the street is ripped up, people have asked why not just replace pipes and repave; thus saving more money for other areas throughout the city.

The reason downtown revitalization is a council priority is because downtown is the one area where densification is widely accepted and endorsed. Downtown is where we want multi story buildings. Downtown is centrally located to parks, the lake, City amenities, and home to many unique shops, entertainment, food, and services. Revitalization is bigger than downtown being the heart of our city, were we gather, or a temperature check on the vibrancy of our community.

There has been over two years of engagement with the community about the design, benefits, costs, and rationale behind the project. The 100 block, starting construction in September, will see the roadway elevated in between Gyro and Veterans Park creating a plaza connecting both spaces. There will be a link road just before Gyro park between Main and Martin streets so the north end of the block can be closed off for special events.

The changes to downtown will see 2 lanes of traffic; which should create slower and safer streets. There will be wider sidewalks which will enhance the pedestrian experience. We want to create a people place and encourage a walkable community.

There is estimated to be over 100,000 people cashing in on the escalating real estate values in Vancouver and looking to relocate. How do we ensure Penticton gets its fair share as these transplants can afford a new home and still have money left over to experience a comfortable lifestyle, plus be significant contributors to our economy and community. Downtown has tremendous potential to create density and population growth.

When we first lobbied to create the Saturday community market it was to create a sense of energy and vitality downtown. We wanted to showcase downtown as safe, fun, great merchants, food, services, and an electric place to be. When the Saturday market is running we all get encapsulated with the euphoric atmosphere as we socialize, get entertained, and happily spend some money. Downtown revitalization will continue that philosophy.

The more we can create an area to live, work, and play the quicker we will see smart growth transforming a great downtown into something truly awesome.