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 partners, will take to re-energize and activate the heart of Edmonton.
The strategy focuses on four pillars: downtown as a home; an economic hub; a destination and 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 the 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.